Guadalupe Rodriguez, LCSW-MPH
We are preparing to return to our new “normal life” which might bring about new stress reactions that we must be aware of. Learning to deal with them will ensure our wellbeing. It is important to recognize them and not feel alone in having these feelings. They might fade with time and if they don’t, there are many resources and healthcare providers qualified and ready to assist us.
What might some of these stress reactions be?
Feelings of shock, numbness or disbelief; difficulty concentrating; difficulty sleeping, nightmares; constant worry; feeling anxious, angry, fearful; difficulty performing daily or work activities; depression/ isolation; physical symptoms – headaches, body pains, rashes; chronic health problems worsen; low energy and fatigue; increased use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs; appetite changes.
How can we cope with them?
The best strategy is to use problem-solving skills and shifting our thoughts and outlook. Some useful tips are:
• increase our sense of safety by following health experts’ guidelines to limit the risk of infection
• stay connected to family, friends and spiritual community
• discuss work from home strategies with your employer where possible
• continue to cultivate ways to stay calm (deep breathing, meditation, exercise, music)
• accept what we cannot change and focus on what we can do
• shift negative thoughts/statements to positive ones
• help others – this will take the focus away from us
• if we are grieving – seek activities to honor the lives and memories of those we lost
More than anything trust our inherent capacity to be resilient. It is in times of crisis that we have an opportunity to discover our inner resources and develop the strength to overcome. Engage in art, music or writing and know that together we are stronger. Be well, at peace and enjoy the moment, it is truly a gift.