Change can bring out fears in many people as humans get into daily, weekly and yearly habits. Sameness and structure brings us a certain amount of comfort and we repel change unless we have no choice. Covid has created many changes for us and because we are social beings, isolation is difficult.
Lets look at some strategies for change that can help us get thru the next while, till the vaccination is administered and we get back to our usual way of living. First name the change, recognize it and accept it. This is the first step to managing change. An example might be fear of getting Covid. So as the numbers get higher the likelihood goes up but if you list how you have stayed safe so far it’s a start. I have been social distancing, wearing a mask, washing my hands thoroughly and often, I’ve been wiping down counters if applicable, doing self care to keep my immune system working and maintaining contact with others thru phone or social media. Have you noticed you aren’t get regular colds either, so it’s working.
The next step is to get out of denial and face your fears around change, even if you have to write down those fears. Write down the fears and how you will manage each fear if it materializes. Now you have a plan so your anxiety will go down or disappear. For example what will you do if you contact covid. The first thing is to be tested, lots of self care, if you have small children maybe pre-arrange for someone to help or even take the kids till you recover, pets may need extra help if you aren’t able to feed or care for them (and remember if you keep to a small area of your house others can come in and be safe by swabbing door knobs and other common areas with 70% alcohol). Check your medicine cabinet for symptom management items and treat it like a regular flu with rest and care and only go into emergency if you struggle with breathing or have other symptoms that require extra medical care. Call the health link line for advice.
Accept your feelings of fear around the changes, don’t fight those feelings. Fear of the unknown is normal as this feeling is meant to protect you by making you more aware. An old saying comes to mind “ What we resist, persists”. Feelings are like that. If you resist them they hang around much longer. Feelings around Covid will be stronger as some of the changes are being imposed on us and we aren’t able to make our own choices.
Change the fearful negative thoughts to positive thoughts and no matter what happens there are possible positive outcomes if you look for them. Be flexible and embrace change as sometimes the outcome is better. You lose a job but maybe you’ll find a better one or train for a better one. Become part of the change by adopting an attitude of excitement, empowerment and help drive the change. Do this thru communication and more communication.
Reduce stress and anxiety by focusing on self care like eating healthy and regularly, exercise and sleep. Develop some coping strategies that work for you like meditation, stretches, yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness and grounding. You’ll find an e-book on my website with many examples of these.
Look at your successes at this time and offer yourself praise and celebrate. Continue to do anything that interests you, make goals and tasks that keep you motivated and involved. Make plans for self care, mind care, spiritual care and stress care and focus on this to help you thru these changes. If all else fails see a therapist.
Currently I do counselling thru zoom, by telephone and in person.
Irene Haire, MC, RCAT Registered Provisional Psychologist with an Art Therapy Specialty is in private practice in Edmonton at The Belmead Professional Centre 218-8944-182 St Edmonton, Ab T5T 2E3 Call me at 780-232-1055 web: www.edmontonpsychologistpros.com E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com