Fear of the unknown and calming yourself
Fear of the unknown is the worst. When we don’t know what will happen next and how it will affect us, knowing it is out of our control, our lowest thoughts come to the forefront. And yet, we need to continue to go on and function in the world . How do we do that? How do we stay strong in the face of uncertainty?
You begin by acknowledging that this is a lousy situation. Admitting the truth is important because growth comes from honest emotion. We need to own the negativity before we can move to coping with it and growing to address it. So yes, this is an awful and scary situation. It stinks. Wish it wasn’t happening.
Ok, take a deep breath. Now what?
The first thing to do is Stop Watching The News All The Time. It’s ok to watch it and learn. But don’t obsess about it. Don’t have it on in the background repeating the same things again and again. Check trusted sources like https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx. Watch the governor’s press conference. Listen to what the mayor says. But get your information and then turn it off.
Once you have good information to work from, then put it in play. Know what the symptoms are, know how to practice basic precautions. Take stock of what you have in your home to prepare and note what you need more of. You don’t need all 30 bottles of hand sanitizer that Rite Aid might have restocked – let other people buy some too. We all need to wash our hands.
Try to counteract the negative conclusions in your head with positive, useful ones. If you can take the fearful thoughts that pop in and respond with a fact-based plan, your anxiety can be decreased. For example, if your anxious brain says – what if I get the virus, your rational brain answers – I call my doctor and I get tested. Anxious brain says – i don’t have enough supplies in my house, rational brain responds – stores are still delivering. Shift attention from the negative thoughts to focusing on the present and counter with realistic alternatives.
And last but not least, take care of yourself. Stop and do some deep breathing – here’s a link to our friend Heather leading some exercises. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtiatzQ5Js&list=PL4bkvRrZ7npUiHx9Rc7RXjArU6s2sAU0f&index=6
Sit and have a glass of water, or wine if you prefer.
Listen to some music.
Take a bath.
You can care for others if you care for yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.
Stay up to date with with our community updates here: https://www.jfcspgh.org/coronavirus/