Dealing with Fear, Anxiety and Disruption During a Pandemic
It seems like life changed overnight. We went from peace to panic. Confidence to apprehension. Security to uncertainty.
Suddenly, the world had a common enemy… COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus).
Social media is filled with posts about this new predator. Not all of the information is truth. Much is written to increase our anxiety. Just try to find toilet paper in your local grocery store as proof. There is none. And yet, we have been assured that there is plenty in the supply chain. The only explanation is that people are panic purchasing.
Yes, fear is contagious. This pervasive anxiety spreads as fast as the COVID 19 virus is seeming to spread. Come into casual contact with someone infected with fear and next thing you know your mind is spiraling with “what ifs”.
It is a frightening time. The stock markets are up one moment and down another. People are losing their jobs as businesses shut down. Entire states are sheltering in place.
Have we ever seen a time like this?
And yet, even as the medical professionals and politicians try to wrestle this pandemic into submission, you and I can have peace in the midst of chaos.
First, remember to practice thankfulness. That which we meditate on, we magnify. Focus on the crisis and you will find yourself in a storm of unsettlement. Focus on your blessings and you will find yourself in a posture of calm.
I promise you have things to be thankful for. From the simple (thank you for binge watching on Netflix) to the important (my loved ones)… it is amazing how when we are grateful, the unknown is less stressful.
Secondly, find someone safe (and positive) to share your fears.
Often when we voice our fears we get clarity on the truth. Whether it is just hearing your thoughts spoken out loud and realizing they are not truth, or the counsel of a wise friend…. it is healing to share our struggles.
If your anxiety is too much for you to handle, professional counsel is a mature and wise decision.
Thirdly, do something. Anything.
Make sure that you are varying your routine. This is not the time to sit around watching the news cycle twenty-four hours a day. Go for a walk, learn something new, read a book, take an online class. We are so busy that we do not normally have any time to invest in ourselves. Now is that time.
Fourth, focus on what you can control.
There is so much that is out of our control right now. From how long this pandemic lasts, to how others react, even what might take place in our families. That can be tough to come to terms with.
When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. You cannot control the severity of the virus outbreak but you can reduce your personal risk.
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
- Make hand-sanitizer a regular occurrence
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home… even if you do not feel ill
- If you cannot stay home, avoid crowds
- Practice social distancing (6 feet between yourself and others)
Last, make healthy choices.
Eat well, get good sleep, keep normal schedules, and take your vitamins. It is amazing how just being healthy physically affects us emotionally.
And do not forget to take care of your spiritual health as well. Most churches are now offering online worship services, small group classes, even support groups. This provides vital community and an upward perspective.
Sheltering in place does not mean isolation. It means that we must be creative in how we stay in community.
It is natural to be concerned. What we need to guard against is fear. Concern pushes us towards resolve and resolution. Fear paralyzes us with the unknown. Concern is proactive. Fear is reactive. Concern can be healthy. Fear is debilitating.
Fear does not need to master your emotions. You can live victoriously in peace and with joy. If you are struggling, please call Prestonwood Pregnancy Center at 972-386-4015 and we can set you up with someone to discuss your situation and recommend further resources.