Managing Stress During Uncertain Times

Managing Stress During Uncertain Times

Managing Stress During Uncertain Times

It’s undoubtedly a stressful time for most of us, including counselors in Orlando and mental health therapists. The Coronavirus pandemic has created changes in the way we live, work, and interact with one another. Life as we know it has been temporarily uprooted, and it’s very normal to feel an array of emotions, like sadness, stress, anger, frustration, guilt, and doubt. Counselors in Orlando and across the globe are using more creative ways to stay connected so these emotions can be processed in healthy ways.

HOW DO I MANAGE CORONAVIRUS STRESS?

You’re probably wondering how to better stress during this time and all of these strong feelings. What can you do to restore a sense of being “ok” right now? Your counselor will tell you that it can be far too easy to get caught up in all the doom and gloom of these uncertain times.

Your mind tries to plan and protect against negative outcomes. One key skill counseling teaches is how to manage anxiety when you are feeling out of control. As you try to place control over something that you just can’t control, feelings of helplessness often set in. Trying to control what we don’t like is a natural tendency, and it’s ok to notice your desire to have more control, yet forcing control usually just makes matters worse.

Let’s take a look at some helpful strategies that you will want to utilize during the Coronavirus crisis, and beyond.

  1. First, you must focus on what’s in your control. You know, things like disinfecting, keeping social distance, participating in hobbies or tasks that you enjoy, and intentionally connecting with those around you. You can’t control the entire scenario to make it different, of course, but you do have some power.
  2. Your power lies within your ability to connect with your values and goals during this time. It’s imperative that you do what’s important to you to invoke a sense of purpose, and purpose keeps us going.
  3. Ask yourself, “What can I do right now that would improve the life of myself and those around me?” Maybe that includes a hobby or physical activity, self-expression, or reaching out to others.
  4. Also ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be in the face of this crisis, what do I want to stand for, and how do I want to treat myself and others?” in order to connect with what truly matters to you.
    This may include qualities such as compassion, kindness, bravery, peacefulness, success, and many more. Consider which qualities you would like to embody, and then enact those traits through committed action.
  5. Regain control by showing support to others. If are able to give of time or resources, you can actively reach out to those around you and lend an empathetic ear or service. If you want to be successful, find creative ways to work. If you want to be healthy, focus on making healthy choices and set some SMART goals for yourself to get really clear of how to follow through.
  6. The next mental wellness skill you’ll want to keep in mind is this: acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, and be kind to yourself in the process. As counselors, we teach our clients that it is extremely important to give yourself the space to feel whatever it is that is coming up for you, even if it’s unpleasant or scary.
  7. Journaling is considered a healthy outlet. Take some time to quietly feel your emotions. Journal about whatever thoughts and feelings come to you, and don’t worry about making sense or justifying why you feel that way. Oftentimes, expressing your feelings will be enough to help you let them go. Feelings are like the weather, always changing, but they must be actively recognized before they can pass.
  8. Process difficult emotions with trusted resources or a professional counselor so that you can stay on course. Our emotions can point us toward important information. For instance, feelings of anxiety may be communicating to you that you need to slow down and give yourself some care, or that you’re allowing your mind to run rampant with scary thoughts without slowing down to notice those thoughts.
  9. Pay attention to what’s going on with a spirit of curiosity. You may say to yourself, “I’m noticing feelings of anxiety,” or “I’m having thoughts of getting sick.” Pay attention to how strongly your body reacts to what the mind tells it. Collect more evidence to ensure the messages are based on reality and not fear.
  10. Come back into your body with mindfulness. Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental attention to the present moment. Practice mindfulness when you need it, or as a regular practice as prevention. Focus on slowly breathing or on feeling the sensations within your body- taste, touch, smell, sight, and sounds will ground you within your present-moment experience.

This practice of being mindful can be translated into any activity. You can choose to pay attention anytime to fully engage in what you’re doing. Notice the sensations of the moment, and let them be just as they are, whether pleasant or unpleasant.

GET HELP

Lastly, identify resources for help, support, and advice. This may be from friends, family, neighbors, or health services. Stay informed, but be mindful of your consumption of media, and know that you don’t have to go through this crisis alone. If you need the support of a professional at this time, please reach out to a therapist or counselor in Orlando and Orlando Thrive Therapy by calling 407-592-8997.

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(407) 592-8997

118 Pasadena Pl
Orlando, Florida 32803
Heather Oller

Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.