Our world continues to feel like a world of chaos. Perhaps your own home feels like a zoo many days, or perhaps you feel like a jumbled mess inside much of the time. You certainly don’t have to look far outside of your own home to find chaos stemming from politics, racial divisions, and the continued COVID-19 pandemic. This chaos causes a great deal of anxiety, fear, and stress for many of us. We are tired of worrying, stressing, and wondering what we should do about everything. Cases of COVID continue to rise in our area and now face masks are being mandated in the Savannah city limits. Meanwhile, many businesses continue to struggle as society continues to open back up. If you’re anything like me, you feel like a volcano some days, just waiting to explode. Other days, you’re just dying for an escape from it all. So, how is one to deal with all of this stress as we continue life during this time?
The therapists at Water’s Edge Counseling are helping many clients manage their emotions and anxiety as life with COVID continues. Here are some of their expert tips for managing stress as we continue to live during COVID-19:
- Identify Your Comfort Level – Figuring out what you are comfortable with is the best place to start in relieving stress. Think through what activities, groups of people, and places you are comfortable being around. Are you okay going over to dinner at a friend’s house? Do you feel comfortable attending church? Are you comfortable with your teenage kids getting together with friends in groups? These are all questions that you should think through with your spouse and family. Go ahead and decide now what is best for you and your family. That way when invitations come up and decisions have to be made, you will already have a clear cut answer. This will help to alleviate stress in your life by knowing what your answers will be ahead of time.
- State Your Boundaries and Respect Others – After you have thought through your comfort level, be open with others about your boundaries. It is perfectly fine if your boundaries are different than your best friend’s boundaries or a co worker’s boundaries. When you are invited to do something you feel you should not do, share your boundaries with others and let them know that it is not personal but that you are sticking to the boundaries that your family has set. Also remember that just as you hope others will respect your boundaries, you also should respect the boundaries of others. For example, maybe your next door neighbor has a large gathering of people at her home that you personally would not be okay with. Respect her boundaries just as you would like your boundaries to be respected.
- Ease Back Into Things – Over the past few months, we have become accustomed to a “social distancing” way of life. We are now used to being at home most of the time and being around fewer people than we have in the past. Just as your eyes need time to adjust when walking outside into the bright sunlight, we will also need time to adjust to society again as things open back up. Take it slow. It can create a lot of anxiety to throw yourself into a situation that you are not yet ready for. Give yourself time to ease back into society.
- Accept Your Situation – Acceptance of our current situation is hard. It is easy for us to focus on the anger and frustration of this COVID situation. The reality, however, is that COVID is not going away. It is here, and it will be here for a while. The quicker that we can accept this and move forward, the quicker we can alleviate some of the stress in our life. Fighting the acceptance of this situation creates extreme stress. Sitting in the negative emotions of the situation also creates stress. Instead, we need to choose to accept our situation and look for the positive and the parts of it that we can control and change, like our own attitudes and responses. Once we begin doing this, we can begin moving forward.
- Self Care –As the stress of COVID-19 builds up in your life, it is critical that you take care of yourself. Exercising, taking warm baths, reading, praying, and meditating are all ways to help take care of yourself and alleviate stress. Make a list of activities that work for you, and make time for them. The therapists at Water’s Edge Counseling highly recommend journaling as a form of caring for yourself. Journaling and writing actually utilize a different part of your brain. Therefore, when you write, emotions and feelings that you may not even know you have will come out. This is extremely helpful in processing how you are feeling.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your emotions, and you are unsure how to move forward, please reach out to us. There is a better life beyond the stress and anxiety that may be controlling you right now. We are currently helping many clients navigate life during this time of COVID-19. It is a hard time, but you do not have to walk through this time alone. Please give us a call at 912-319-5552. We would love to help you!