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Tips To Help Manage the Extra Stress/Anxiety of COVID-19 – Jackie Joens
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Tips To Help Manage the Extra Stress/Anxiety of COVID-19

  1. The first step in dealing with the stress we are all experiencing is to accept that it is real and that it is happening.  When we live in denial, we are constantly surprised by the realities as they present themselves.  Acceptance allows us to move on.  Denial keeps us stuck.  Identify what you do and do not have control over and plan accordingly.  Do what you can and let go of the rest through prayer, meditation, journaling, etc.  That is all we can do.
  1. Create a new ‘normal’ structure for your day.  We are creatures of habit. When these habits are interrupted we can become stressed.  Be intentional and deliberate on scheduling out your activities.  If you feel like you are living with purpose, you will experience less stress.  Choose the activities and be deliberate in working through the hours of your day and night.
  1. Make an appointment with a mental health professional – processing through the stress these days bring.  Everyone will be a little different in how they process things and what they are experiencing.  Grief, loss, anxiety, depression, anger, irritation, insomnia, etc. can all be experienced alone or in combination. Here is a list of mental health professionals offering telehealth options in Iowa: https://feelgoodiowa.com
  1. Practice mindfulness with prayer/meditation – by exercising the letting go of cares and worries and being present in the moment, we give our brains a chance to rest and rejuvenate/heal.  Get out your Bible, read the Psalms.  Download the Bible on Audible and listen to your favorite chapter.  There are some free podcasts and apps that provide guided Centering Prayer or mindfulness exercises.  Look them up and practice these regularly.  This practice will help you focus on what Philippians 4:8 teaches us, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things”.
  1. Take a walk – with social distancing in mind, take a walk.  I saw a group of five people just yesterday walking in a group down the street in a formation of three in front and two in back.  They were all 6 feet apart.  They were able to get some exercise, talk to each other and yet were still honoring the social distancing.  We are starting to have some pretty nice weather for this time of year.  Take advantage of it.  It will help with your physical and emotional health.  (It is also very good for spiritual health.)
  1. Practice the 4-P’s of Stress Management. (See article on this blog)
  1. Update your music library. Sort through your songs and create playlists that inspire, calm or energize you.  Music can create a mood  or set an atmosphere – choose wisely.
  1. Stay away from drama on t.v. or in literature.  Even limit how much news you are taking in.  Try to focus on more hopeful messages or shows.  It has been shown that if you read the news rather than listening to it, you can control the emotional impact it may have on you in a more productive way.  Turn it off!  Take in a good message.  Proverbs 23:7 – “As someone thinks within himself, so he is.”
  1. Call people who may be social distancing all alone.  There are many single people and elderly people in care centers that are all alone.  Call them.  Send regular emails or texts.  Check in on them and stay connected.  In this day of technology you can use Skype or FaceTime as well as other social media options to connect with those who may be alone.  Some families have used these platforms to play board games with each other, read to each other, plan the post-coronavirus celebration.  Use your imagination and get to connecting as best you can.
  1. Learn something new.  With online videos, there is no end to things you can learn to do.  Find something…drawing, singing, knitting, woodworking, playing an instrument that is sitting in the corner, sewing medical masks, calligraphy, painting, yoga, foreign language, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  My middle school aged niece is teaching herself how to bake.  I imagine she’ll be on the next baking championship show when this is all over!
  1. Start journaling.  Did you read the Diary of Anne Frank when you were in school?  If not, read it first and then start journaling.  We are living through history being made right now.  What is going on?  How are you coping?  What keeps you busy all day?  These are the things that may be treasured in 100 years.  Keep track of the seemingly mundane things of each day.  You may be writing a living history book for your grandchildren.  Here are some suggestions for journaling from a friend of mine.  (See Journaling For Health and History post.)
  1. Start a social media gathering place for your family, friends or neighbors.  Keep each other informed about what is going on locally.  Try to share positive messages and do not lament about the current state of affairs.  We are all in this together.  No one needs reminding.
  1. The CDC has a great list of suggestions for parents with kids.  Check it out.  https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html


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