By: Kae Tritle, RN, Iowa Annual Conference Wellness Coordinator
We are living in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis that has elicited a variety of emotions. For the majority of us, our usual safe and comforting routines, places, and people have changed. Change usually triggers a grief response. Many of us are experiencing the following stages:
- Shock and denial: Is Covid-19 real or could it affect me or my family members?
- Bargaining or negotiation: What will you do or won’t do in dealing with the situation? For example, perceptions regarding health practices, over-stocking supplies, etc.?
- Acceptance/cooperation: How can you face the reality of the new situation by adapting and learning to cope by staying home, video meetings, ordering items for home delivery or shopping in a store?
In coping with the current situation we can ask these questions:
- Where do I have some measure of control?
- How much information do I need to cope effectively?
- Do I need to limit the reading of or watching the news reports?
- How do you usually cope with a crisis? Do you imagine the worse, work on practical strategies, offer your support to others, or hibernate? Are you usually a “worrier” or a “do-er”?
Our emotions have also been on a roller-coaster of protectionism, isolation, denial, fear for our loved ones and ourselves and everything in between.
What are some strategies that can help us cope emotionally with the new normal of social distancing and self-quarantine?
- Maintain contact with your family and friends through phone, Facebook, e-mail, Skype or US postal service.
- Request or offer support for each other, both emotional and practical/physical options.
Some of us need to talk with others to process stress and problem-solve. We can also go shopping for others, offer options for child-care, and share ideas for family activities.
- Practice expressing gratitude at various points of the day, or keeping a gratitude journal.
- Learn new hobbies.
- Music: listen to and sing meaningful, uplifting songs that you can relate to.
- Take walks outside. Both our emotions and physical bodies benefit from activity and nature, releasing endorphins—the "feel good" hormones.
- If not tech-savvy, ask for help from those who are.
- Pray, read scripture, lean on your faith.
- Be hope-filled, we can and will get through this.
- Laugh at something at least once/day.
- Give virtual hugs.
I offer this prayer by Avery Brooke from All Will Be Well:
Almighty God, you are the source of health and healing, the spirit of calm, and the central peace of the universe. We ask that you would fill us with an awareness of your presence within that we may have complete confidence in you. In all pain and weariness and anxiety may we rest in your protecting care; may we know ourselves to be encircled by your loving power so that we may allow you to give us health and strength and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen