Use these tips to manage stress during crisis

  • This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID/TNS) NIAID

Tribune News Service
Published: 3/30/2020 5:45:33 PM

Do you feel strangely bent out of shape these days? Do you wake up thinking the coronavirus outbreak is dominating your choices?

If so, you’re normal. Reacting to the news and trying to adjust mentally to every twist and turn is exhausting. It makes us all feel out of control.

A college student we’ll refer to as Amanda was getting ready to graduate from a southern university in May. It will still happen, but Amanda’s class will celebrate in a different way than having a large commencement ceremony. And no one knows the date the semester will end.

A friend of ours we’ll call Donna wanted to visit England this year. Those plans will need to be postponed and reworked as well. “Frustration seems to dominate my life these days,” Donna said.

These tips can help anyone cope during uncertain times:

Remember to change yourself first. Adopt habits that ensure you will survive physically and economically. Do all you can to make a positive impact on your family and long-term career goals. For example, take a class online that you’ve been putting off.

Avoid making negative remarks. Words are powerful. Keeping saying, “We’ll get through this.”

Force yourself to be productive at home. Get off the couch and organize your closets, read that novel you bought recently. Call up some people who need cheering up.

Keep a good schedule. Don’t lie in bed until 10 a.m. or take three naps a day. Treat your time and your life as valuable.

“I would advise people to stop binge-watching the news,” says a stay-at-home mother we’ll call Leah who is supervising her kids’ studies from home.

“Catch 10 minutes of news a few times a day,” Leah said. “Negative news can destroy your ability to get things done, if you’re plugging in constantly throughout the day. I learned this a long time ago.”

While managing your own emotions during this crisis, keep in mind that most people are very resilient. Most of us over 45 have already survived some very tough times.

“I’m worried about the health of individuals, but I’m also frightened about the economic impact of this pandemic,” said a business executive we’ll call Jeff. “I really believe we can balance both. We’ll figure out a way, if we don’t panic and strive to think clearly.”

He goes on to say that his employees have gotten very creative. “They’re staying in touch virtually to share good ideas for home schooling their kids and preparing healthy meals. But they’re still looking ahead to expand our business when this is all over. I’m very proud of them,” Jeff insists.

Most of us know how uplifting it is to empower others who are struggling. When we become selfless, we’ll give emotional strength to the universe.

“If we all took this period of time to look out for others, we could gain a lot through the challenge,” said a minister we’ll call Dr. Adams. “We need to see the world as one unit and make new goals that reach beyond borders.”

A business executive we’ll call Andrew, CEO over a hospital corporation, believes we will all come out better when the pandemic is under control.

Andrew said that health, both physical and mental, should be the world’s top priority. “This focus ensures economic and spiritual renewal,” he insists. “Health is the fuel of families and nations in being productive.”

One thing is for sure: Because of this world challenge, most of us will be more determined to take better care of the planet and ourselves.

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