The Emotional Toll of the Coronavirus

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7 Tips to Help You Stay Out of Fear Mode

The latest pandemic to hit the planet is COVID-19. Being adequately informed is wise. We need to listen to experts and take reasonable precautions. The long-term impact on health is yet to be determined, and the financial burden will be massive. We also need to be mindful of the emotional toll of the Coronavirus.

Consciously or subconsciously (or both), everybody is feeling unsettled. Some people are downright terrified. This virus is concerning, but so are the adverse effects – the emotional toll on our families, communities, and the world. Fear has lasting implications on us emotionally, mentally, and physically.

According to an article on the Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing page of the University of Minnesota, living under constant threat has serious health consequences. Some of them are: 1) weakening the immune system, 2) loss of memory, 3) interruption of processes that regulate emotions, 4) fatigue, 5) depression, 6) PTSD, and many other issues.

My daughter, Jamie, was shot by her ex-boyfriend when she was eighteen years old. That incident thrust my family into a world of fear. A few short years later, we would learn that our brilliant girl was addicted to heroin. As the years of Jamie’s addiction wore on, this once brave woman, became scared of everything. The fragility of life and uncertainly about Jamie’s future consumed me. Nonstop thoughts of dread filled my mind. I panicked when the phone rang and worried when it didn’t. Fear of getting the knock on the door left me on high alert.

The terror I felt is similar to what we are now seeing worldwide; I call it paralyzing fear, and it might be as devastating as any virus.

While we learn and take responsible action, we need to be careful say calm and hopeful. Here are some tips to help you manage the fear that comes with this global Coronavirus outbreak.

1. We will get through this. There have been many world events that seemed like Armageddon, but somehow, the world keeps turning. We will get through this, too.

2. Don’t panic. We are witnessing empty shelves at stores and out of stock messages over online shopping images. People are intent on scooping up as many supplies as possible, resulting in a self-absorbed mentality. Let us remember that we are all in this together and hoarding supplies will likely leave you with more than you need, and others with nothing.

3. Turn off the news and social media. Fear and panic grab attention in the news and social media and can be hard to ignore. But, the more you hear or read concerning reports, the more your fear increases. Fill yourself with enough, and you might find yourself panic-stricken. Remember that newsfeeds and posts are repetitive, so you are not missing anything by stepping away. You can stay informed without a constant barrage of unsettling information.

4. Focus on the positive. Try to focus on every positive thing you can. Not only should this be a daily practice in general, it is even more imperative when we are bombarded with information that is cause for alarm.

5. Stay in gratitude. During a crisis, it may seem as if there is nothing ahead but doom and gloom. Traumatic situations are the perfect time to increase your level of gratitude, and shift your mindset from dismay, to hope. Get a box, basket, jar, or any other handy container and begin to place little slips of paper in for everything you can think of that is good and hopeful. State your gratitude out loud, so your brain will begin to believe the good news in the midst of the bad. God will show up in big ways, so look for them.

6. Surround yourself with warriors. Get around some bold people. Spend as much time with people who refuse to live anxious and worried.

7. Somebody is watching you. At least one other person is watching you to see how you respond to the current challenge. They need your strength and hopefulness. Be a light in the darkness.

Life is full of unknowns and situations that frighten us. Certain events will knock us to the mat, but we always have the choice to stand back up.

My worst fear came true one sunny morning in August 2016, when I got a knock on the door, followed by the devastating news that my daughter was dead. Had I not learned to overcome fear and to live with hope, Jamie’s murder would have destroyed me. No matter what the future holds for us with COVID-19, or anything else, we have the choice to keep standing.

This virus is contagious. So is fear. The good news is that courage is contagious, too, and you have the power to spread it around.

Your Story Matters…Live it, Courageously.

 

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