A PSYCHOLOGICAL TOOLBOX FOR COVID-19 – HOW TO DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY

Covid is by far the most searched keyword on the Internet, and something that will be for a long time. It is important therefore to ensure that your psychological toolbox is packed ready and able to deploy at a moments notice…

PPPPPP. Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

When you notice your state tipping to a place where you’d rather not be, you’ll be equipped to do something about it.

Here are some areas for focus and consideration, not all will make sense or be relevant to you right now and that isn’t important, what can be said, is that by reading, completing and storing the answers or strategies, you’ll know where to look when the time comes.

Understand and work on your coping mechanisms. 

Stressed. Why? Understand the reasons why-you-do-what-you-do then work out a way that suits the end result. Be practical with the solution and keep things simple. Remember, the more resources you have to vent your issues the greater the handling capacity for those resources. Choose one and they / it will become overwhelmed very quickly. 

Tired of feeling alone? Explore various online groups around topics that interest you, or perhaps not. Try something abstract and avoid immediately opting for social media to be the solution.

Helpless and struggling with health? Find an online forum of individuals that have achieved the intention you’ve set out. Tip, avoid mixing with those faced with the same dilemmas; you’ll just reinforce the reasons why you cant. Want to learn lose weight? Join an ultra running group, not weight watchers. 

Establish some stability and use that as your springboard.  

Uncertainty is going to be the main stressors over the next few years, something I’ve mentioned in detail within a previous articles. Uncertainty about the future, uncertainty about our relationships, uncertainty about our safety, uncertainty about our own emotions and the list goes on. 

Find stability and use that as your rebound when you have a moment of fear, worry or have adopted a negative state. Rooting yourself on the controllable is a good way to build the momentum needed to increase that level of stability.

Push to the max and back off to safety, do this enough times and your stability baseline will increase, allowing you to move through future obstacles as quickly as they arrive.

Adjust what was previously acceptable. 

Move the personal expectations according to what you can, I for example cannot train the way that I was, there are things that I cannot do because I don’t have the equipment to do so, so rather than beating myself up over it. I use what I can accepting this is enough, little point pondering on the things that I cannot control. Use that time/energy wisely.

With this being said, avoid opting to ‘NOT’, due to decreased motivation and laziness. If you can then you can, if you cannot then you cannot. Remember keep it simple.

Add a note in your diary “am I being realistic right now with personal expectations and when will this change”. 

Opt for healthy distractions.

Healthy distractions are a brilliant coping tool, use them freely and as often as you want. There has been lot of talk about substance abuse being an ‘accepted challenge’ and part of the Covid-19 fallout, but it doesn’t need to be.

Distractions do not need to be something negative or destructive. Think about replacements if you find yourself craving something to fill your time or boredom, remember if it is not available then you are less likely to do it. 

Usually head to the fridge when bored? Stock up on some healthy juices and clear out all the fizzy pop.

Enjoying a little more TV time than usual? Set a timer and opt for a 50/50 split on fitness/TV time, or better yet grab a second hand spin bike and train while you watch. 

Work on your language.

Negative self-talk is bound to be prevalent during these uncertain times; social media and the constant Breaking News offer little positivity and why would they considering our global struggle. 

Just because they do – does not mean you do. Look at the last word I used ‘struggle’, how does that make you feel in comparison to the words, warmth, happiness, compassionate, love, stimulation.

If you find yourself feeling low, or in a state of loss, explore the words that you use and opt for an alternative, something positive and forward thinking.

Should to could

Try to can

Won’t to will

You get the idea. 

The world is not over yet. 

You are from a long lineage of reproductive success, this isn’t the first time the human species has faced a challenge and it is unlikely to be the last. What does that mean for you and me? Nothing unless you seek it.

If you are attempting to make sense of it all, then stop right now. The harder you look, the more you’ll find evidence to fill the gaps, in most cases destructive and despite your best intentions, you do not have the ability to comprehend and make it all fit.

Keep things simple. 

Keep things simple and go about your day, focus on yourself, protect what you can and plan for something exciting. Revert to the distracting element mentioned previously. 

Don’t rush when there is time to take things slowly

Being present (aware) and planning for the future (success) is key, and something that each of us has a responsibility to do, but avoid being hasty where there is time to think and plan with detail.

If you have been reactive for as far as you can remember then NOW is your time to turn the tables and actively plan. Use this time to re-evaluate the things that you have been working toward and perhaps explore alternatives that work better for you right now.

Own it.

Happy with what you have accomplished and proud, own it! Avoid the temptation to play down your own successes in the attempt to control how you are perceived. If you have done well, then avoid the temptation to justify or level the playing field. We are not all the same and cannot therefore be measured by the same stick. 

Beware of failing into the trap of negativity bias.

The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes.

Life by alarm

Although I have said that now is a good time to take things slowly, what also can be said are the significant benefits of following a daily plan, ensuring you maintain healthy and productive habits.

Start your day as you mean to go on, staying in your PJ’s all day, is not something that you want to promote as being acceptable. Get up and get on. If you have slipped, then set your alarm to remind you, it won’t be long before you are back in to the swing of things. 

Thank for listening; there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts, articles and videos out there, and every time you share, like and subscribe, you help me help more people. For more articles remember to visit the website BenjaminBonetti.com and if you think it is time, then take advantage of the introductory sessions that can be found on the booking page.

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