Coping with COVID-19: Staying Mentally Healthy
by Adi Moorman, Ph.D., LPC
These are very trying times. Everything feels very surreal. People are wondering is it real? Are we part of a horrific movie? Nobody predicted the world will be at a standstill at this time. Not many saw it coming and nobody could have prepared for this. But yet here we are. COVID-19 is here and in full force.
It is normal to feel fear, helplessness, anger, and frustration. It is normal to grieve the loss of all our normal and daily routines. All the things we took for granted: our freedom to shop, gather, and go out for dinner. Plans we made for spring break, Easter, etc. are all canceled or postpone. However, is it okay to grieve and feel frustration when others battle so much more? People are fighting for their lives; people are dying; and health systems are collapsing under the growing medical needs.
We are being forced to isolate ourselves and distant ourselves from others. We can communicate via Facetime, Zoom, and Google Meet. But it is not quite the same. We cannot hang out and celebrate birthdays and graduation.
So how can we keep our mental health during this very challenging time? How can we prevent depression and anxiety from increasing and overwhelming us during this difficult period?
1. Acknowledge and Accept It
The first thing to do is acknowledge and accept it. Allow yourself to have these emotions, whatever they are, and know that you are not alone. Many feel this way. It is normal to feel these emotions. Do not judge. Do not put yourself down. Accept and acknowledge.
2. This will not last forever
The next thing to do is it to recognize that it will not last forever. It may last for a few months, but ultimately things will improve. Patience is hard during this time. Acceptance is even harder. But things will eventually move forward in a positive direction.
3. What is it that you can control?
Next recognize what it is that you can control. You can control your environment and your little world. You can establish a routine. Make sure you get up in a certain time, get dressed, and do something that makes you feel productive. Limit your time watching the news, get some exercise using YouTube or one of the many Apps, and connect with a friend or a family member. Use this time to focus on your relationship, learn a new skill, sit outside, etc.
We tend to say I wish I had more time to… fill in the blank (focus on my family, play board games, learn a language, watch the stars, etc.) So now you have it. You have the time. You have the choice. How are you choosing to spend this time? What is it that you would like to focus on? What kind of character part do you want to play in this surreal movie? The victim? The overcomer? The optimist? How do you want others to view you currently? What do you want to teach your children?
COVID-19 is causing much damage but is also teaching us humility. It is forcing us to stop. It is forcing us to remember that we are humans with strengths and weaknesses and that is totally okay.
Anxious, Depressed or Worried? Is your family under pressure? Don’t suffer alone – please give us a call today and let our caring team help you find relief. Call us on 703-636-2888
Adi Moorman, Ph.D., LPC
703-636-2888, ext. 2