HOW TO COPE WITH POST LOCKDOWN EMOTIONS
July 28, 2020
For those of us that tend to be, 2020 has given us a whole slew of new things to add to our checklist.
- Should I be wearing a mask when I go out?
- Is it safe to see my friends? Elderly parents?
- What about my kids? Can they see their friends?
- Should I send my kids back to school or do I need to homeschool?
- How will I balance online school and work?
- Will I lose my job/business if the economy doesn’t pick back up?
It’s a beating, isn’t it? I’m really ready for 2020 to be a memory and for us to move on to something besides masks and quarantine. But what I’ve come to realize is that while I’m sick of all things COVID, we still must deal with the impact it is having on our emotional well-being and on our relationships.
Anxiety is the enemy.
We all have daily stress and most of us handle ourselves pretty well. We may snap when we are tired or hungry, but as stress accumulates – and it does – the weight of it gets heavier. I think we can all agree that COVID is one big prolonged stressor.
Though everyone experiences anxiety, if yours is persistent, overwhelming, and feels uncontrollable, it becomes debilitating.
The Anxiety Trap.
The most effective way to deal with anxiety (stress) is to simply be aware of what we are feeling. You can start by simply recognizing and acknowledging your feelings.
In my recent interview wit Sam John, LPC, an expert in anxiety and trauma, he explains the fiction and untruths we conjure up when getting into what he calls an anxiety trap.
When we get into this trap, we create a negative future for ourselves based solely on ‘what-ifs’ that may never happen. Read that again. We create a negative future, something that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. When we manifest our feelings based on these hypothetical future worst-case circumstances, we in turn increase our anxiety and make our present – our current reality – pretty miserable.
Dealing With Fear, Anxiety, and the Unknown.
Forgetting about worst-case scenarios is admittedly challenging for many of us. Fear and anxiety can literally hijack our brains and keep us looped on unproductive thoughts.
Here are some tips for dealing with these strong emotions.
- Know you are not alone — Studies show that 40 million Americans, roughly 18%, deal with anxiety. It’s also highly treatable, though less than 40% actually seek treatment. If you suffer from even mild anxiety, I encourage you to seek treatment from a professional. Left untreated, anxiety tends to grow.
- Make your own decisions — Every family is different. Comparing yourself to your neighbors and friends (and their decisions) will do nothing but feed your anxiety. Instead of worrying about whether your neighbor thinks it’s okay for the kids to play with friends or return to school, do what feels right for you and your family, regardless of what the others do.
- Don’t jump ahead — Stay focused on the present, on what ‘is’ versus what ‘could be’. When we focus on future unknowns, we respond emotionally to those events as if they are happening now, and we bring all of the worries, fear, and anxiety associated with our present reality. Avoid the trap!
If you find yourself struggling with fear and anxiety and don’t like how it makes you show up in your relationships with the people you care most about, I encourage you to reach out to my team here at The Marriage Place. Contact us today to learn how to free yourself from anxiety and reclaim your present.
Watch my interview with sam on
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