How to not put the PANIC in PANdemIC
There are a number of issues that can make it difficult to feel like you’re in control in your own life. From not being able to find toilet paper at the store, to being within 6 feet of even one of your friends let alone a stranger passing you on the street. Remember the word FACE. These are some key elements to help you during this difficult time:
F = Focus on what’s in your control
You can’t control what happens in the future. You can’t control Corona virus itself or the world economy or how your government manages this whole sordid mess. And you can’t magically control your feelings, eliminating all that perfectly natural fear and anxiety. But you can control what you do - here and now. And that matters.
Because what you do - here and now - can make a huge difference to yourself, and anyone living with you, and a significant difference to the community around you.
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings
Silently and kindly acknowledge whatever is ‘showing up’ inside you: thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, sensation, urges. Take the stance of a curious scientist, observing what’s going on in your inner world.
And while continuing to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, but don’t run away with them.
C = Come back into your body
Come back into and connect with your physical body. Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following, or find your own methods:
Slowly pushing your feet hard into the floor.
Slowly straightening up your back and spine; if sitting, sitting upright and forward in your chair.
Slowly pressing your fingertips together
Slowly stretching your arms or neck, shrugging your shoulders.
E = Engage in what you’re doing
Get a sense of where you are and refocus your attention on the activity you are doing.
Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following suggestions, or find your own methods:
Look around the room and notice 5 things you can see.
Notice 3 or 4 things you can hear.
Notice what you can smell or taste or sense in your nose and mouth
Notice what you are doing
End the exercise by giving your full attention to the task or activity at hand.
Remember what’s in your control is usually tied to behaviors. Here are some actions that you can take to help yourself and those around you:
You can wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) to kill the bacteria that may spread the virus.
Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.
If you are spending time with someone else, try to keep at least 6 feet of space between you and them.
If you are feeling sick, stay home and away from others.
Reach out to your social circle and stay in touch with them.
Keep a normal sleep/wake and daily routine (as best as you can).
Engage in and invest in self-care habits, with things you enjoy doing.
If you have any questions or would like help during this difficult time, please feel free to contact me. I offer tele-health (over the telephone, or over video chat) counseling as well as in-person sessions and would love to help you through this difficult time.