How to deal with FEAR, STRESS and ANXIETY during COVID-19

The times we are in right now are challenging and uncertain. Leaving many of us overwhelmed with fear, stress and anxiety. We experience loss of control and even feel hopeless.  

It is normal to feel the fear, stress and anxiety creeping up in our hearts and minds. These are unusual circumstances, and we are just human. 

However, we need to do our utmost best not to allow these emotions to root themselves in our hearts and minds.

Now, more than ever before, we need to gather all the courage we have to implement the necessary actions to take back control. 

What control? – our reaction towards everything that is happening.

 Yes, it is possible, and I believe you are more than able.

 Hence the practical tips on how to deal with fear, stress and anxiety in these troubling times.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEAR, STRESS AND ANXIETY 

Fear is an unpleasant emotion due to the threat of danger, pain or harm.

Stress is our natural response to external factors that cause us to feel at a loss of control.

Anxiety kicks in when fear and stress are not dealt with and can harm our total wellbeing.

TIPS ON DEALING WITH FEAR, STRESS AND ANXIETY 

Take care of your MIND.

Our thoughts influence how we feel, act, see the world around us and eventually who we become. Therefore it is crucial to take care of our minds during stressful times.

 Ask yourself the following questions:

    • What are the things I cannot control? – I cannot control the Coronavirus, lockdown or the future.
    • What can I control? – I can control what I think, focus on, and how I react towards my current situation.
    • How do I take back control of my mind/negative thoughts? – Here are some practical steps:
      • Watch the news to stay up to date, but do not focus on the negative all the time.
      • Start with a gratitude journal, write down one thing you are grateful for, every day.
      • Read a book on self-development.

Take care of your EMOTIONS

We are human, and therefore we struggle with our emotions. The key is; not to allow our feelings to dictate our actions, by healthily dealing with them.

 Once again, you can ask yourself the following questions:

    • What am I feeling, right now? – anger, frustration, doubt, fear.
    • What can I do to get these emotions out of my system? – Here are some practical steps:
      • Talk to a trustworthy friend who will listen and not necessarily go down the rabbit hole with you.
      • Join online support groups where you can form part of a community who are facing the same challenges.
      • Keep a “This is how I feel” journal.
      • Have grace with yourself.

Take care of your BODY

Our bodies are the only vehicle we have to build a life here on earth, therefore taking care of our bodies are essential. 

 Here are a few tips:

    • Move your body – I know space might be a challenge right now, but we can do simple movements such as stretching, pacing up and down, using an exercise app such as 7-minute workout.
    • Eat healthily – Do not give in to binge eating. Stick to a healthy eating plan as this will improve your immune system and help protect you against the Coronavirus.
    • Get enough sleep – I know that this can be a challenge and hugely dependent on our circumstances. However, we must try to get at least 6 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. If this is difficult, try to take power naps during the day.

Take care of your SPIRIT

In times where all seems lost, it is important to keep hope at the centre stage of our focus.

As indicated in my article how-to-find-hope-when-all-seems-lost, this is not always easy.

Here are a few ways we can make sure our Spirits grow during this time:

    • Listen to online sermons.
    • Make a worship playlist on your phone or computer and play it non-stop (you do not have to hear it for it to uplift your Spirit).
    • Call a friend and pray with them.
    • Reach out and motivate, encourage and support the people in your community.

During the lockdown, we can still find ways to shower people with God’s love. Our focus will then shift from fear, stress and anxiety towards hope, peace and joy.

Stay CONNECTED

Isolation and loneliness are our biggest enemies when we struggle with fear, stress and anxiety. Especially now, during the COVID-19 Lockdown. We can feel disconnected from the world, family and friends. The internet has powerful resources we can use to stay connected.

 Here are some of the resources and a few tips on how to stay connected:

 We all need to know that we are not alone, that we are still part of a greater world and community, even when in isolation.

OTHER PRACTICAL TIPS

    • Concentrate on your breathing.
    • Do what you love – creative activities, read, bake.
    • Take a warmth bath/shower.

USE YOUR TIME OPTIMALLY

How we choose to approach this episode in our lives will greatly influence and determine our future.

Not only as a Nation but also as individuals because we as individuals build this great Nation of ours.

My heart for this period is that we take this much needed time to reflect, reposition and restore. 

      • Reflect – what is working in our lives and what is not.
      • Reposition – what must we change to ensure that growth will be the result.
      • Restore – what must we put in place to make the growth happen.

Let us not waste this time given to us, let us use this time optimally and make sure that we are ready to grow as individuals and as a Nation.

We cannot control what happens around us, but we can control how we react towards it. 

Please remember, taking control is a process. Every time you feel fear, stress, and anxiety creeping up on you, you must will-fully turn your attention to the tips I have given you. It will not come automatically. However, if we push through and persevere, we will conquer. 

Be safe, stay focussed, have grace with yourself and support one another.

 

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