3 steps to deal with emotional strain and stress
The fear and anxiety swirling
around COVID-19 and other diseases can be overwhelming - causing strong emotions
and stress. Coping with this emotional strain and stress makes you, those you
care about and your community stronger.
- Fear and worry about your own
health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating
- Difficulty sleeping or
- Worsening of chronic health
- Worsening of mental health
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
are essentially 3 phases of action you can take to deal with this stress.
Phase 1: Acknowledge there is a painful or
frightening emotion arising and you face it.
When you are faced with a situation that brings you great
discomfort, rather than run, you turn around and you attempt to accept that you
cannot escape the situation and so you must deal with it. One of the terms
used across spirituality is "radical acceptance".
Sometimes there is a tremendous surprise people get in
just taking that step - once they acknowledge their fear and they get a chance
to see it for what it is - it sometimes does not seem quite so overwhelming, or
they have more courage to face it than they imagined.
2: Permit yourself to seek refuge in 'self-soothing" when you feel overwhelmed.
None of us could simply sit in our painful emotions 24/7
without a break. There is nothing wrong with temporarily leaning on distractions
that give us comfort and respite. These can include internet, social media, TV,
physical activity, and napping to name a few. But, it is important that you steer
clear of distracting yourself with alcohol, drugs, or relationships not based
on love and respect.
The key is understanding that we are distracting ourselves for
comfort and that we are only temporarily doing so. There should every intention
of turning back towards our pain or fear once we have the energy and fortitude
rest can bring.
3: Look deeper into the root of your fear and pain.
There is the very human and inescapable fear or pain
associated with loving someone and seeing them in pain or fearing their
loss. The difficult news here is that there are no tricks or short cuts
here. Grief is a process and something all of us will have to face (if
not now then certainly at some later time). But it is a natural process
as long as it is not blocked by too much distraction - so even in this case
turning to the feeling and better yet talking with others about it is very
Looking deep within is often very unique and specific
to the individual. So ask yourself, "If my worst fear were to happen, what
does that mean for my life and what is it that I find would be unbearable?"
If you are consistently feeling overwhelmed
or having significant problems functioning in your daily roles with family and
job - PLEASE seek professional help. Remember it is not a sign of
weakness but rather a sign of courage - and believe me there is help and hope