How to Cope with the Impact of the Coronavirus

  • Keep in touch with friends and family using telephone or videoconferencing. Everyone needs social connections, especially during times of stress and worry. Try doing something virtually that you’d normally do in person, like going to a virtual religious service or having a virtual coffee with a friend.
  • Focus on what you can control. One of the overwhelming things about the current pandemic is the amount of factors that are beyond your control. By focusing more on what you can control, you will reduce feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Make a list of what you can control – for example, hand-washing, disinfecting your personal items, and your own social distancing.
  • Watching or reading too much news can raise anxiety levels. Read or watch enough to stay informed, and then impose a news moratorium for the rest of the day.
  • Develop a “one day at a time” mentality. Focus on helping yourself get through each day when the long-term future is uncertain.
  • Try to get some exercise each day. You could exercise to a video in your living room or you could go run outside. Exercise boosts mood and reduces anxiety levels.
  • Get enough rest. If insomnia has become a problem, try meditation or relaxation exercises to help you sleep. We like the ones at www.meditationoasis.com.
  • If you are a parent, focus on managing your own anxiety and staying emotionally connected with your children. Try to create an environment in which children can verbally express how they feel about what is happening.
  • If you are in recovery, attend virtual 12-step meetings, as you would regular meetings. Stay in close contact with your sponsor. Recovering addicts are more susceptible to relapse when under under stress.
  • Everyone reacts to a crisis differently. Some people may become very active to cope with their feelings, while other may need to sit quietly with their feelings. Know that both are normal and don’t impose ideas about how you “should” be feeling or reacting now.
  • Consider seeking counseling if you feel you need more help to cope. You can contact Willow Oak for an appointment here.

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