Do Not Be Anxious

Do Not Be Anxious

No Wonder You’re Anxious!

During this difficult time, as we navigate the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, it’s easy to become anxious and worried about current and future concerns. And, in the present moment, that’s completely healthy…our feelings are a normal and adaptive response to an abnormal and stressful situation!

Official directives for social distancing and self-isolation, supply shortages, work restrictions, and financial limits can all increase anxiety in us. Worries for our loved ones, either away, abroad, or at-risk, can stretch our emotional reserves to the limit. At the same time, we’re needing to make decisions based on limited information, re-evaluate our priorities, step up our family responsibilities, and find flexible solutions to changes in routine at home and in our jobs.

Survival Mode Kicking In

It’s as if our whole world has gone into survival mode, where we’re all on high alert and ready for action at a moment’s notice. And to a certain extent, that’s a good thing. The chemicals released in our brain and body when we’re in “fight or flight” mode help us react quickly, change gears at a moment’s notice, and call on energy stores when we need them.

It’s as if our whole world has gone into survival mode, where we’re all on high alert and ready for action at a moment’s notice.

But our response to stress can get out of control, especially when we feel like we have too much responsibility over the outcome and not enough control over the process. We’re in a situation right now where it might seem as if we have no control over the process at all. And over time, this can lead to chronic stress, and compromised mental and physical health.

Don’t get Stuck in Survival Mode

If we get stuck in “fight or flight” mode, stress hormones can lower our immunity and lead to chronic health problems, which can leave us vulnerable to infection and more severe symptoms if we do get sick.

So, it’s vitally important to identify those immediate concerns and worries that are ramping up our adrenaline and leading to anxiety in the here and now. Simply acknowledging and voicing our feelings can be the first step in leaning into our experience and learning how to cope with it.

What’s Fueling our Anxiety?

People also expressed anxiety over being able to get everything done to prepare, along with coping with the added demands of working from home and caring for and schooling children.
Last week, Dr. Greg Bottaro of Catholic Psych Institute sent out a survey to find out what people are struggling with at this stage of development. He found that what was producing most anxiety was a sense of loneliness and disconnection for those who were alone or whose loved ones were not with them.

Using the results of Dr. Greg’s survey and some of his recommendations, here are some tips to take back control and meet our immediate mental health needs, as our physical world becomes smaller and we navigate our new normal:

The 3-C’s of Mental Wellness during the Coronavirus Crisis

Connection

  • Reach out to a senior, or someone who is at home alone or in self-isolation. Make it a habit to check in with one person on a daily basis just to connect
  • Check in with your spouse on a daily basis. Install the Love Nudge app to remind you to connect with their love language every day
  • Worried about loved ones who are not practicing social distancing? Try these tips from psychologist, Mary Piper, PhD, to connect with those who are finding sudden disconnection with others difficult

Consistency

  • Establish and keep as normal a routine as possible. Get up and pray, take a shower and dress in “work clothes,” have regular meal times and family times
  • Start slow when transitioning to new routines related to working-at-home, homeschooling, and new chore expectations. Give everyone a chance to adjust

Care…for ourselves and others

  • Touch base with your children regularly. Watch Divine Mercy University’s vimeo on talking with kids about the coronavirus situation
  • Try out new healthy recipes. Check out this article from Healthline on nutritional ways to lower stress
  • Get out for daily walks or start an exercise routine in your basement or backyard. Tap into the ways that exercise can protect your mental health during this stressful time
  • Practice good self-care…take a bath, read a book, get some extra sleep

Tune in to the Doctor, Doctor show on Redeemer Radio with Dr. Kevin Majors, MD, as he shares his expertise on the topic of anxiety.

And, above all, remember that God is our ultimate connection, He who is faithful and constant and whose care for You is all-knowing and everlasting. In times of worry and anxiety, remember His words of comfort, “Do not be anxious…”(Matt 6:25-34), for your Father in heaven knows what you need and He can be depended on in these uncertain times.

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