Back in June it felt like the end of the pandemic was in sight, but as cases continue to rise across most of the US, feelings of hopelessness, anger, grief, and frustration are also rearing their heads once again. Covid-19 brings up big emotions, and the deja-vu nature of the latest wave following a period of relative normalcy can make new restrictions and cases even more gut-wrenching. Today we share some tips from health and psychology writer Stacey Colino on managing that “here we go again” feeling.
Research has found that accepting negative emotions and moving forward with that acceptance is one of the best ways to cope with a stressful or upsetting situation. It may sound silly, but it can be beneficial to practice saying acceptance statements out loud or writing them in your journal. These include affirmative statements like “I can get through this again” and “I can accept that this is more complicated than we thought.”
Find healthy emotional outlets
Venting to friends and family can feel good, but it can also exacerbate negative emotions and potentially increase the stress levels of those around you. Try journaling about your anger or sadness when you’re feeling emotionally heated. If you do want to discuss what you’re going through with a loved one, set some boundaries by asking them if it’s okay for you to work through your emotions with them.
Embrace the positives
Find joy in what you can do right now like spend time with friends outdoors, exercise, cook great food, and enjoy new hobbies you’ve picked up over the last year.
Shift your attention
Research has found that worrying about a stressful situation can actually be more harmful than the situation itself. If you find yourself heading into a negative headspace, try to actively shift your mind in a more positive direction. This can look like going for a walk, putting on a compelling podcast, or perhaps reading The Optimist Daily.
Use your experience
The pandemic is a new type of challenge, but this doesn’t mean we can’t address it with old tricks. Think about a challenging time in your life before the pandemic and what helped you get through it. Maybe it was journaling, or seeing a therapist, or taking up a new workout routine, or starting a virtual cooking club.
Remember that this, too, shall pass
For many people, the pandemic has been the most challenging months of their lives, which can make facing the prospect of doing it all over again all the scarier. Remember that the world has been through immensely challenging times before and come out the other side. Cut yourself some slack and remember to prioritize your mental health and physical wellness each day.