So, what do you do when you’re overwhelmed by the health crisis that is happening outside your door? How do you get support when you’re trying to minimize your interactions in hopes of reducing the risk of being exposed? Or even better yet, how do you get support when you’ve been exposed and find yourself in a quarantine situation?
Everybody is feeling the impact, even those of us who reside in areas that have not yet been directly affected. NBA games are being played in empty arenas. K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are developing, and in some instances already implementing, plans to move classes online. Employees are being asked to work from home, church services are being cancelled, basically any place where groups of people may congregate are considering their best course of action in order to manage this pandemic. And good luck to you if you’ve run out of hand soap or toilet paper because there’s not a square to spare on any of the local shelves.
One of the things that is contributing to the current emotional climate surrounding Covid-19 is the extreme feelings of overwhelm that so many of us are experiencing. Contributing to this is the fact that top officials don’t even yet know enough about this disease to be able to provide a clear picture of what we’re facing. Although there have been a lot of comparisons made between this new disease and influenza, there are many differences and unknowns that are contributing to the fear response so many are having.
This overwhelm can happen when there are a lot of unknown factors or when something is happening that can have an impact on your life but feels outside of your control. When this happens, the best thing you can do to manage the overwhelm is infuse a little radical acceptance and then direct focus to the things that are within your power.
Radical acceptance is the act of accepting life on life’s own terms and not fighting against or resisting the things that are outside your control. It’s being able to say “it is, what it is” because you realize that fighting against it will only intensify your emotional reaction and isn’t a good use of your energy. This doesn’t mean that you’re happy about it, or that it’s not frustrating, or scary, or a major inconvenience. It just means that you are going to focus on the things that are within your control, such as how you’re going to respond to the current health crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided us with recommendations of things we can do to help us protect ourselves and our families such as:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer
when soap and water aren’t available, especially after you’ve been in a public place, or after
blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wear a facemask if you are sick and need to be around other people (You do NOT need to wear
a mask if you are not sick unless you are caring for someone else who is. Facemasks may be in
short supply and should be saved for caregivers)
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social
Limiting media consumption during such events can also help you to manage your feelings of overwhelm. Stay informed on national and global updates through reliable sources such as the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites. Use other news sources only to remain up to date on local impacts.
How do you find support to help you navigate these complex feelings when you feel it’s safer for you to stay home? Or maybe you’ve tested positive or have encountered someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 and are under quarantine. Being exposed to such a disease can have a significant impact but you’re feeling isolated and alone.
If you’re looking for support EmpowerME offers a free 30-minute consultation that can be conducted by either phone or video chat. During your free consult we will assist you in deciding what kind of support will be the best fit for you and are willing to help with referrals when necessary.