These are difficult times and perhaps one of the most unsettling aspects is not knowing what the future holds surrounding the Coronavirus. When will we be able to go back to work? School? When will things go back to normal? What happens if I get sick or if this gets worse? Will we be able to afford bills next month? Will we be able to go on vacation this summer? What about in the fall? It is a lot of anxiety-inducing uncertainty. And, it is ok to not be ok with any of it.
It is a natural human need to like some control over our lives. We like to be able to decide where and when to go and to make plans for the future. All of that is on hold, so what do we do? How can we cope with this frustration and disappointment?
Remember, We Are In This Together
First, try to keep some perspective about your current state and focus on the positives. The whole world is going through this together, so there is hope for some kind of joint relief. You are not alone. Your neighbor down the street is likely feeling this similarly to the way you are.
It is important to take things a day at a time. Things are happening so fast. Each day we hear something new. Rather than looking forward to the future or making lists of all the things you want to do when this ends, focus on what you can do today.
Come to terms with your reality, maybe a family vacation this summer isn’t in the cards anymore even if you can travel. Maybe it makes more sense financially to wait a few months anyway. Consider your options. Perhaps you could plan something even better a year, or more, down the road.
It Is Ok To Not Be OK
Recognize that it is ok to feel the way you do. It is ok to not be ok with all (or any) of this. It is ok to mourn the cancellation of your sister’s wedding or that Europe vacation you had been saving for.
Talk about your frustrations with a trusted friend or family member, lean on each other (from a distance). Seek the help of a mental health professional who can work with an individualized plan to ease stress during these unprecedented times.
Now is a great time to learn more about your emotional triggers. Do you start to get overwhelmed and sad every time you watch the news? Are you a stress shopper? Is social media making you feel less than? By learning your triggers you can start to limit your exposure to them.
Focus On What You Can Control
Now is not the best time to plan your son’s birthday party a month from now. It is not a great time to purchase a new swimsuit for that beach vacation in July. We don’t know what the future holds but there are things you can control.
You can control how much exercise you get in a day, what you will read or watch, who you will call, what meal you will make for your family (breakfast for dinner anyone?), and more. Right now those things need to be your focus. The stuff of the future will be determined as the days go on.