Updated: Mar 28
The coronavirus took our entire world by surprise with its rapid spread and implications. This is not simply a pandemic affecting a few groups of people. Everyone in the world (in some capacity) has been affected by this pandemic. Unfortunately, there has been an alarming number of unknowns in facts about the virus and how to keep ourselves safe. As a result of this, most people are undergoing much more stress than usual. If you yourself, a family member, or someone you live with is immunocompromised then you are likely experiencing even more stress than the average person not at risk. Because we don’t know how long we will have to live in these conditions, we must adapt to the current state of our world. One of the ways you can do this is developing coping skills that help you manage your stress in the midst of this global pandemic.
Coping skills are extremely important in general, but are especially important during times of extreme stress. Once you find which coping skills work specifically for you, you will be able to apply them to your life whenever you need to. Positive coping skills allow us to have some extra help during difficult situations. When you develop positive coping skills you are in turn preventing yourself form choosing negative skills as a way to cope. This can include the abuse of substances.
There are so many different positive coping skills out there, so you may have to try a few before you find the right ones. However, there are a few coping skills that are universal and helpful to almost everyone. One of the most obvious ones is making sure you are getting enough quality sleep. Sleep impacts our mood drastically and physically as well. Getting into a good sleep routine can be essential to managing stress. In addition to this, having routines, in general, are extremely helpful. If you are able to create a routine (especially if you are working from home) that completes your basic tasks, you will leave little room for extra unnecessary stress. Additionally, incorporating healthy meals and exercise can help in managing your stress. This will not only make you physically feel better but will also keep your mind clear.
It’s important to also make sure you are having some form of socialization. Isolation has been shown to lead to depression and general feelings of loneliness. This can be tricky to apply during a global pandemic for obvious reasons. but there are many ways to get creative with how you socialize. You can have a video chat with a friend and do a mock coffee date. You can schedule phone calls with friends or family that you aren’t getting to see as often. While virtual contact does not fully replace physical contact, it can certainly give us some of the loneliness-fighting feelings we need during stressful times.
Another great thing to use as a coping skill is spending time in nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature reduces feelings of stress and can improve your physical health as well. The great thing about being in nature during this specific pandemic is it is very easy to social distance outdoors. If you go to a park or take a hike there will usually be the appropriate amount of distance between you and others to keep each other safe. Some research even has shown that having a plant in your place of living can allow you to get similar benefits as spending time in nature.
Meditation, mindfulness practices, and yoga can also be extremely helpful for managing stress. All of these practices focus on your breathing and calming your mind. These activities can decrease the chatter in your mind related to the pandemic. It’s normal to be stressed for a variety of reasons, but practicing your breathing and relaxing your mind can be great ways to help. If you are just starting out with one of these practices you can many different resources online to begin.
Finally, you can work with a therapist to help you identify and incorporate some of these skills. Therapy is extremely beneficial at all times throughout your life, but especially during times of increased stress. Working with a therapist allows you to speak how you’re feeling in a safe and structured space. Our office provides virtual visits if needed due to the pandemic.
Because our world is currently facing a pandemic of a new virus, there are so many unknown factors. This can be stressful for everyone in different ways. It’s important to find what positive coping skills will help you best to allow you to get through this time with the least amount of stress possible. There will always be things we cannot control (such as this pandemic), but all we can do is control our reaction. All we can do is work on our own stress and managing it in the best way we can. You are not alone in feeling stressed. Quite literally everyone is dealing with some sort of stress as a result of this pandemic. It’s imperative to be gentle with yourself during this time. You are doing the best you can under these uncertain circumstances. Better days are coming. But in the meantime, living with less stress is always going to lead to a better quality of life you deserve.
Please feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment for therapy. You don’t need to go through this alone.
Contact our office with questions and for a free 15 minute consultation. Call 818-927-0478 or email us at email@example.com