The coronavirus is adding to your stress level, right? That’s understandable.

What can you do to keep it in check? Here are some strategies that tie closely with our overall philosophy at Encompass Counseling Center about taking care of your whole self. Our focus is on the five attributes that comprise your entire being. This multidimensional aspect of healing includes the (1) PHYSICAL, (2) INTELLECTUAL, (3) SPIRITUAL, (4) EMOTIONAL, and (5) SOCIAL parts of your personhood.

If you’re battling with anxiety during this time you may need to bounce ideas off of a professional counselor.

PHYSICAL:

Of course, wash your hand frequently. But also make sure you are eating right, taking the supplements you normally take, and exercising.

Because your health club is where you want to be right now, but can’t because it’s not open, dust off that unused exercise equipment in your basement. Or, find a new exercise video on YouTube. Or, take a long walk. Trying something new can help you refocus your mind off what worries you onto something healthy.

If you let yourself go physically, you can’t expect to be at your best in body, mind, or spirit. On the other hand, by being active—no matter how much or little—you’ll definitely feel better, overall.

There’s power in doing something physical, depending on your health and ability, of course. Challenging your body in some big or small way will lead to greater peace of mind—something we desperately need to address rationally any irrational fears caused by Covid-19.

In reality, you’ve probably already read and heard everything you need to know about Covid-19. Don’t dwell on it any more.

INTELLECTUAL:

Don’t turn to social media for input on facts about the pandemic. Instead, rely only on information from your healthcare provider or other reliable online sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, World Health Organization, WebMD, and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The whitehouse.gov site is also a place to turn for current, dependable information. Don’t let any particular political persuasion keep you from this up-to-date source, which includes the Coronavirus Guidelines for America, as a downloadable PDF file.

In reality, you’ve probably already read and heard everything you need to know about Covid-19. Don’t dwell on it any more. Now’s the time to read the book you’ve been meaning to read . . . listen to the podcast you’ve put on hold . . . write in the journal that has been sitting on your nightstand seemingly forever . . . or do a host of other things that might have fallen by the wayside.

And, certainly don’t neglect your mental health. Please.

Our therapists are committed to keeping your regular appointments, even if it means we have to do a phone or video chat session. Use the good mind you have to fight any irrational thoughts your emotions might bring that might worsen your anxiety or depression.

Now is not the time for catastrophizing. Jumping to conclusions is out of the question. Rather, turn to something or someone greater than yourself to find the comfort you need.

SPIRITUAL:

With social distancing recommended, you may be feeling isolated. Find ways to stay connected.

Many churches broadcast Sunday services. There are millions of podcasts available from encouraging and engaging speakers. Take this time to meditate, something you likely are normally too busy to do. Turn to your spiritual leaders and mentors for guidance. Spiritual growth often blossoms in tough times.

Now is not the time for catastrophizing. Jumping to conclusions is out of the question. Rather, turn to something or someone greater than yourself to find the comfort you need.

For those of us still able to go to work, make the extra effort to ask your colleagues how they’re doing. We’re all feeling the stress of the times. Let’s grace and kindness rule.

EMOTIONAL:

“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise person holds them back,” states an ancient proverb. The meaning is clear: from our desires, we derive our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Of the three, feelings are the most difficult to control.

Stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic can wreak havoc on our emotions. The unknown can be scary. Now is NOT the time to cancel appointments with your therapist. NOR is it the time to forget the strategies that your therapist has given you to deal with stress.

There have been pandemics before, and the world still turns. We are lucky to live in a time when medical science is so advanced.

Don’t focus on possible negative outcomes. If conversations with friends bring you down, take charge to turn the conversation in a different direction by reminiscing about the good old days or making plans for a fun future event.

If you’re feeling intense emotions that threaten to overwhelm you, remind yourself that you won’t feel this way forever. This feeling may be strong and scary now, but it won’t last forever. An hour, a day, or a week from now, you’ll feel differently.

SOCIAL:  

Some people have to isolate in a time like this. It’s too risky for them to be out and about. This shouldn’t stop the rest of us to stay connected with family and friends.

Of course, we’ve been told not to gather in groups larger than 10. But this shouldn’t prevent us from cutting ourselves off from all contact—especially with apps that let us connect virtually.

For those of us still able to go to work, make the extra effort to ask your colleagues how they’re doing. When you’re at the store, have patience with fellow customers and cashiers. Don’t snap in traffic or at clerks handing your drive-thru orders. We’re all feeling the stress of the times. Let’s grace and kindness rule.

If you know someone—particularly who’s elderly—who can’t get out, find a way to contact them. A recent trend is to leave a note in the mailbox, with your number, so they can call you if they need something. Do they need a meal? Perhaps you can drop one off. Are your getting groceries, anyway? See what supplies they might need.

Whatever we can do to stay connected with others, now is the time to do so. It’s hard to go through something like this alone.

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If you’re battling with anxiety during this time you may need to bounce ideas off of a professional counselor.

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