Stress from COVID – My Personal Story
It has been over two years since we all have been dealing with COVID-19 being an unwelcome part of our lives. Each of us has been exposed to or has known loved ones and friends who have had to deal with this virus. Although it is difficult to stay positive about something that feels that there is no end in sight, it is important to be able to cope with COVID in our world and (sometimes) in our personal lives.
To be completely frank, I know that I am tired of it. In the last 7 months, my family has contracted the virus two times. Being a father of 4 children, 3 of which are younger boys meant that we all had it at the same time. The most recent outbreak in our house was more severe and has caused more medical follow-ups, lingering sicknesses, and the general sense of being tired of it. Maybe the word “tired” is not what can adequately describe how I feel. Sometimes I am just plain sick of it.
I have to be there for my family and I want to be the best I can be. The first step to that is to make sure I am ok and keep a positive mind so I can cope with everything. Sort of like what a flight attendant tells you on the airplane, if oxygen masks drop, make sure to put your mask on before you help anyone else. Because you won’t be much help to your loved ones if you don’t take care of yourself.
Throughout this, this is how I have coped to keep a centered, balanced and positive mind:
1. Practice self-care. Do something nice for yourself. Indulge in a TV show or movie that you like. Treat yourself to relaxation and tell yourself it is okay to relax. Redirect feelings of guilt from not being 100%. What must get done will get done eventually. Resting and taking it easy is building strength and allowing you to be the best for yourself and your family.
2. Redirect negative thoughts or anger. Sure, I was fairly annoyed with the fact that COVID happened again after the first bout. Initially, thoughts started to flood my mind like “Gee, we are careful, what did we do wrong?” to “What is the point in being careful when THIS happens?” Coping by redirecting those thoughts that it was in fact out of our control and that it happened because of it. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the action steps of what are you going to do about it? Looking for solutions on how you are going to cope and handle it allows for you to not feel as hopeless or despondent. Taking action, knowing that it will resolve itself, and knowing that you can handle it helps in so many ways.
3. Vent it out. Expressing is vital to dealing with stress. It is important to not let things build up inside (internalize) and to be able to manage any negative feelings. One tactic I use is that I cope by expressing with humor. This reminds me that not all is lost, that I am acknowledging the issue, and trying to laugh about which helps me cope and move on. For example, we received an isolation order from the local Health Department a couple of weeks ago. I mused to my wife that we need to stay home, which is fine by me because I like being home but now I have an order to do so! I could have looked at this in a very bleak way, but made a choice to look at it with more humor and expressed how I never thought I would receive an isolation order, so that is something I accomplished this year! This allowed me to not deny the situation, but to directly acknowledge it and manage through the process.
Covid is still a big issue, but we should remember that this situation is out of control. Instead of brooding, let’s work on what we can do about it. Being frustrated and fatigued by this is a valid thought, but we should focus on enjoying what we have. Having support and people to talk to is a key component as well. We are all truly in this together. If you feel you need additional support, please reach out to us at Benhaven Counseling. We are here to help you get through this.