Coping with COVID-19

Easy Ways to Stay Calm

by Lou Ann Donovan

How Are You Coping with the Coronavirus Pandemic?

coronavirus pv reporter The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes in how we live our lives now.  It has brought uncertainty, changes to daily routines, financial concerns and social isolation.  You may be worrying about getting sick or what the future will be like after the pandemic.  Information overload can make your life feel out of control.  It is common to have all these fears, and to feel sad and lonely from the social isolation.  Learning self-care strategies and being mindful will help you take care of both your body and mind.

Simple Ways to Ease Anxiety

From time to time, it is normal to feel anxious and stressed.  That is just part of our life’s journey!  However, it is important to learn how to ease your anxiety for both your physical and mental well-being.  The World Health Organization has developed a simple visual list of ways to help you cope with stress during this pandemic.  Here are of few of them:

  •  It is normal to feel stressed and scared during a crisis.  Talking to people you trust can help.
  •  Maintain a healthy lifestyle – including diet, sleep, exercise and social contacts by email, phone, text and social sites.
  •  Don’t use smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions.  If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a professional.
  •  Get the facts.  Gather information that will help you accurately determine your risk so that you can take reasonable precautions.
  •  Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you spend on media coverage.
  •  Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage difficult times.

Stay Connected While Social Distancing

With so much uncertainty all around the world, it is important now more than ever to stay connected.  Find time each day to make virtual connections by phone, text, email, FaceTime, Zoom or similar apps.  For those who are working remotely from home now, reach out to your co-workers and ask how they are doing and share some of your coping tips.

Do something for others around you.  Check-in with family members, friends, neighbors and ask how they are doing.  Maybe they need help with picking up groceries or a prescription.  Offer to refer them to a business in their area that offers porch delivery service allowing everyone to stay safe.

This article from the Cleveland Clinic, How to Stay Connected to Loved Ones Despite Social Distancing, suggests to check-in with the youngest and oldest members of the family.  The elderly might be feeling isolated and could really benefit from regular video chats right now.  Again, use FaceTime, Zoom or similar apps to chat with family members in other cities.  They will enjoy seeing a familiar face during this time of uncertainty.

How to Be Mindful in Only 15 Seconds

You’ve heard that meditation can help.  A big part of meditation is simply being mindful.  That means you’re aware of what’s around you as you tune out distractions.  Mindfulness has been linked to better health through lower anxiety, deeper sleep and less stress.  In fact, you can get your mindfulness to work in just 15 seconds by trying some of these steps:

  •  Just paying attention to your breath tends to make you breathe more deeply.  Plus, it brings you into the present moment.  You’re no longer constantly ticking through a to-do list.
  •  Hey, when did those birds start singing?  For most people, busy thoughts block out everyday sounds.  But when you stop and listen, you’ll hear much more.
  •  There are familiar objects all around that you’ve probably stopped and noticed.  Try to look at these items with fresh eyes.  Identify one new detail about each.  With this simple little game, you’ll be practicing mindfulness.
  •  Another hurried lunch at your desk?  Whatever you’re eating, take a moment to consciously taste each bite.  Focus on the flavors and textures and chew more thoroughly (a big bonus for your digestion, too).
  •  After a while, you’ll get the knack of being more mindful without being so purposeful about it.  Until then, it helps to schedule your quick mindfulness sessions.

Practicing these short, mindful moments a few times a day will help you build a new habit of being present and calm.

Give Yourself Kindness and Grace

Give yourself some grace on days that you aren’t feeling your best.  This is one of the most difficult things for me to do.  I enjoy staying physically active which gives me more energy plus fights my fatigue.  But I am getting better at listening to my body and practicing mindfulness which includes taking a nap when needed!take care of yourself covid 19 pv reporter

Create a calm area in your home where you can relax your breath.  Brew a cup of your favorite herbal tea and curl up on the couch with a good book, watch a movie or take a nap.  Always be kind to yourself and take time for you and your health!

Learn more about the Relaxing Breath also referred to as the 4-7-8 Breath that I use every day.  Watch a video of Dr. Andrew Weil demonstrating the 4-7-8 Breath.

I hope you found this article to be helpful in learning easy ways to keep calm during stressful times.  You can also rely on skills used in the past to help ease your anxiety.  Remember to stay connected with family and friends and to give yourself kindness and grace on days that you don’t feel your best.

Sponsored by Incyte Corporation


 

About David Wallace

Founder of PV Reporter, a resource for Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) patients and caregivers. After being diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera (PV) in 2009, I utilized social media to connect with "informed patients" and develop a better understanding of emerging treatment options. My philosophy on patient care is straight forward - "educating the patient is essential, so the patient can guide their physician to meet his or her needs." PV Reporter is a comprehensive resource hub giving visitors vital tools to become "empowered patients."

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