Coping with Coronavirus: Protect your Mental Health

Coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By: Jenna Fash, MS, LCPC

Here at Fash Counseling we know that for you, like many, your world changed overnight when news broke of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  With many forced to make changes in their personal and professional lives in an instant, anxiety and distress soon set in.  Now is the time to start thinking about how tocope with what you are currently facing and what you could potentially have to encounter in the coming days.  We want to be able to provide you with on going support from our experienced clinicians either in person or through virtual sessions.  Like many, you may be thinking, how am I going to get through this?

The American Psychological Association recommends the following tips on managing your anxiety, putting the news in perspective and maintaining a positive outlook:

  1. Keep Things in Perspective: Remind yourself that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms.  It is important to take the necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones health as well as the vulnerable populations.
  2. Get the Facts: It is helpful to adopt an analytical approach as you follow the news about coronavirus.  Verify the information you receive from family, friends and social media.  Cross reference facts and information with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and through your local/state public health agencies. 
  3. Communicate with your Children: Use honest and age appropriateinformation to discuss news on the coronavirus with your children.  As parents, you can reduce anxiety and distress in your children by maintaining routine and structure.  Children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own. 
  4. Keep Connected: You can foster a sense of normalcy by staying connected on social networks.  Share your feelings and relieve stress by communicating with those you trust.  Take advantage of what technology has to offer via phone, video chats and social media to stay connected to people in your life. You will find that normalizing this with one another is supportive and leaning on one another will help you move through as we are all in this together.
  5. Check on Your Friends and Family: Now is the time to build community in creative ways and it is important to help those who are especially struggling with isolation.
  6. Seek Additional Help: Do not go through this alone.  There are people out there, like our therapists at Fash Counseling, that are available for help and support. A trained therapist can help you cope with the extreme distress, symptoms and impact on your life. 

Remember, coping skills are designed to help you reduce your emotional distress and rid yourself of stressful situations that you face.  When you feel distressed ask yourself, “Do I need to change my situation or do I need to find a way to better cope with situation?”

Problem-Based Coping is helpful when you need to change your situation.  Emotion-Based Coping is helpful when you need to take care of your feelings to reduce a negative emotional response.  Emotion-based coping is the best option to follow in coping with COVID-19.  They will help you cope with your emotions in a healthy way.  Healthy coping mechanisms help to soothe you, temporarily distract you, or help you tolerate your distress.  The following are examples of healthy, emotion-focused coping skills:

Exercise                     

Clean the House

Yoga

Journal

Read a Book

Color

Draw

Mediate

Relaxation Techniques

Listen to Music

Use Aromatherapy

Look at Pictures that Bring You Joy

Take a Bath

Play Games

Self Care

Play with a Pet

Cook

Smile!

Remember we are here to help!  Take care and be well!

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