The New Normal: Staying Emotionally Safe During Covid-19
Recently in my counseling practice I have seen more and more clients coming in and stating they are experiencing anxiety due to Covid-19. Complaints seem to be centered on the actual pandemic and fear for themselves and their loved ones, and some fears are about how other individuals are not following guidelines for masks or washing properly. All of the complaints come down to one thing, this pandemic has taken away our ability to predict how we can go about our days and remain safe and virus free.
As humans we rely on routine and structure to give us a sense of stability and safety; most of our routines have been drastically changed, our normal is not normal anymore. In the absence of what was our normal the presence of fear and panic can sneak in.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines anxiety and panic as follows:
A marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation.
Panic is a specific period of intense fear or discomfort (2013).
Creating a new normal is the key for optimal mental health especially for those who suffered from anxiety or mental health issues prior to the pandemic. Routine and structure aids in the brain's ability to create a sense of safety in situations. One of the best ways to create a sense of routine and normalcy is to establish a new routine based on your current circumstances.
When developing a new routine it is important to base it on things you know and that you enjoy. Being mindful of the present moment and taking solace in that moment authentically.
Let authenticity and gratitude guide your journey to the new normal. Give yourself permission to release the way you used to live and find gratitude for the way you are living now. Take time to love and breathe and find joy and gratitude for the connections in your life. Focus on eating healthy and exercise, be of service to the community and practicing self-care. The new normal may create positive changes for you and the people around you.
For more tips on creating and developing coping strategies for anxiety please call and set up an appointment with Willow Creek Counseling and Associates.
American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (5th ed.) Arlington VA American Psychiatric Publishing