This is a unique time in our lives that we are currently undergoing. As well as the concern to our physical health, we also need to have some care and concern towards our mental health. Anxiety at this time can go ever higher than before, with there being a big unknowing surrounding the situation. Not knowing when it may end, what the world will be like after this is over.
There are however coping strategies which can still be used during this time. Firstly, getting out once each day is important, to get fresh air and some moderate exercise. This will allow for a different view for a period of time. During this time look up to sky at different times whilst walking, this will help mentally, research has shown that when looking up can also physically lift up your mood in return. The theory behind this being that you are looking up to where there is possibility and opportunity rather than looking down where you will see the ground and this seems restrictive.
Other coping strategies during this time can be done in house, such as a time out area, this can be any area in or around the house, where you and others can go where you cannot be disturbed and have the time to relax, use meditation techniques, or read a book, or any activity which you feel helps to relax.
During this time we are all going to be like cups of tea getting full, and it’s when we begin to feel full, and we are about to overflow, that we need acknowledge this feeling and put in place the coping strategy.
Something else which can be useful, will be to have a set time during the day, where you can sit down with others in the household and talk any issues over, and there is an open minded non-judgemental atmosphere to be in. Thoughts and opinions can be shared without the worry of any repercussions of what is said. This will allow matters to be talked about, rather than getting bottled up, and this then becoming an aggressive atmosphere.
During this time it is easy for thoughts to carry us away and we become easily consumed by them. A more intelligible way to deal with these thoughts is to try and gain control of them, even if they already have control. When you begin to feel absorbed by your thoughts, take three big deep breaths in and out, and this will, on most occasions, bring the mind back to the here and now in the present and will also help to calm the thoughts.
It is as this point where a longer lasting coping strategy can be put in place. For example pulling apart thoughts and looking for the realism in them, looking for the evidence to back up the thoughts. There are many coping strategies which can be used, and it is finding the one which works for you, and using that.
An effective visual technique I have found to be useful with some people I know is, to view this time as a passing storm, in that similar to a storm that comes and goes, this period of time has come and will also pass. Even though there is uncertainty as to when this time will pass, we can have the certainty that it will pass. Also like a storm, there is blue sky above it whilst it is passing, there is the normal way of living waiting after this time has passed.
Image credit: Freepik
Dale Burden is a correspondent for Psychreg. He holds a dual honours degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from Keele University.