By: Andranique Evans-Bethell
COVID-19, or ‘Rona’ as some dubbed it, has impacted our lives in one way or another.
What we once considered “normal” rapidly changed and we are now forced to stay in our homes, forced to close our schools, close our businesses, close our churches, close our borders, and postpone/cancel special events (like weddings, birthday celebrations…) and so on.
Some people have adjusted quite well and see this time as a much needed break from high-functioning careers or jobs, fast-paced lifestyles, and the demands of everyday life, while others feel “robbed” of time and resources.
Some even feel “trapped” in their homes and compare social distancing to serving a prison sentence. And, there are those who feel they have loss complete control of their lives due to government emergency orders that pushes them into situations they are not comfortable or not happy with. No matter where you fit, the novelty and unpredictability of this pandemic has put us in a state of panic… I mean, state of emergency. ‘Rona’ has threatened our safety, our health, our relationships and our livelihood causing us to experience a range of emotions.
The past few weeks have been restful and exhausting - emotionally and mentally exhausting. This is completely normal. We humans are social-emotional creatures and therefore we will inherently experience emotions about ‘Rona’ whether it is positive emotions, negative emotions or both.
Own them! Nonetheless, it is important for us to cope with our emotions when we are “in our feelings” in healthy, appropriate ways without causing harm to self or others.
Besides routinely sanitizing our environment, frequently washing our hands, keeping 3 to 6 feet apart, using gloves and masks to protect our hands, noses and mouths, monitoring flu-like symptoms, it is essential for us to create a calm environment for ourselves, practice mindfulness, set healthy boundaries (such as limit the use of social media), protect your mental health and be aware of mental health symptoms.
Too often we become so preoccupied with the tangible things that we inadvertently neglect the intangibles like our emotions, or mental health. COVID-19 has created both real problem worries (actual problems that need immediate solutions) and hypothetical worries (thinking about potential problems or imagining worst-case scenarios). Everyone worries! Yes, I said it! To some degree we worry about something that going on in our lives.
We worry about the future, our family, our children, and our finances and so on. Worrying is not always bad or makes you a bad person. In fact, sometimes worrying can be healthy because it can prompt us to plan or think ahead.
On the flip side, excessive worrying can affect us from carrying out our daily routine and functions.
What can you do about worry? Here are a few tips:
Balance daily activities. Too much or too little of anything can be harmful.
Create a calm environment at home. You can achieve this by organizing your space, planning your time and creating a to-do list.
Practice self-care. Set aside time each day to focus on you and to address your needs.
Maintain a positive attitude. Block or minimize access to people, places and things that will trigger your worry.
Change negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
Finally, develop your spirituality. Build your faith in a higher power to help you through this period of uncertainty, lockdowns and curfews. This power will give you a sense of hope and will help you sustain a peace of mind.
Be safe, be responsible, stay at home, help save lives…
Andranique currently works as a high school counselor who has an educational background in both education and psychology with specialty training in School Counseling and Substance Abuse. She briefly worked as an early childhood educator before accepting a job opportunity as a case worker with The Department of Social Services. After spending nine years in the service, Andranique resigned from her post to pursue her first passion, counseling. Becoming a counselor has always been a long term goal of Andranique and she strongly feels this is her purpose. Andranique spent many years working in youth and children’s programs at her church and presently serves as one of the Junior Red Cross’ patrons and a facilitator for JA for Juniors. She is happily married to Mr. Marlon Bethell.