It is a frustrating time for everyone as rules continue to change and every case seems to differ. Some people are testing positive without any symptoms, others are dealing with feelings of guilt that they have passed the virus to others, or feeling anxious at the prospect of being tested and awaiting results for days in some cases.
It’s important to manage your emotions and take care of yourself.
Keep in touch with your support network through calls or FaceTime and adopt these tips if you are isolating, or even if you aren’t:
Positive self talk – You may feel like you are not doing enough to help, feel guilty for worrying about your health, or even be experiencing some self-blame. If you find yourself being critical and unkind to yourself, it can be helpful to remind yourself to be more compassionate and talk to yourself the same way you would talk to a close friend.
For example; “I’m selfish for worrying about my health.” Could rather be, “We are in the midst of a global pandemic and it is okay to be worried about my health.” “I should be doing more.” Could rather be, “I’m trying my best and trying to help as much as I can, while also taking care of my mental and physical health.” “I made them sick.” Could rather be, “I could have made them sick, but they could have also gotten sick due to community spread—I’ll never know.”
Self talk is important. It is easy to slip into thinking that this pandemic will never end. Try focusing on one day at a time and remind yourself that most people who have had this illness recover fully.
Limit what you watch, read and listen to – Although it is important to stay up-to-date with what is happening around us and the latest developments, set aside a few hours a day (or maybe even several days) to disconnect from news and social media.
Remember it is usually a lot easier to find information about the scary aspects of this virus, such as how it is overwhelming our healthcare systems and the number of deaths, then hopeful information about recovery rates, etc. For many, exposure to sensationalist news of daily cases and ever changing requirements can trigger stress and fear.
Distract yourself with self care – Distraction can be a helpful short-term coping strategy as it allows us to build up our internal resources, so we can identify other ways to cope with the situation at hand. Sometimes when we are feeling upset, sad, scared, worried, or anxious, the best thing to do is to distract yourself with an act of self-care.
Self-care looks different for all of us and some examples include: calling a friend, journaling, movement, cooking, playing music, the possibilities are endless. After engaging in the activity for 30 minutes, check-in with yourself to see how you are feeling and what you are needing. Remember, the goal of distraction and self-care is not to take away the pain, but to care for yourself so you are able to sit with and tolerate your emotions more effectively.
To avoid feelings of boredom and possibly sadness, plan your day so you have different activities to look forward to and to keep your mind busy. If you are well enough, this should include some time outdoors at your house in the yard or a patio, or doing some gentle exercise indoors. Might be time to search up Jazzercise or mindfulness activities.
Get back to basics – When we are feeling anxious, worried, and stressed it can be easy to forget to eat, move, or sleep. Eating nutritious meals throughout the day, moving for 30 minutes, and sleeping 7-9 hours a night can improve our mood, better manage stress, and helps us more effectively regulate our emotions. Now is not the time to put additional pressure on yourself by pushing to get those jobs done around the house (unless you feel up to it).
Most importantly, remember you are not alone and that this will pass.