w e’ve been dealing with this new COVID-19 for a few months now and the media is not holding back.😷
They are reporting possible symptoms, age ranges being affected, mortality rates.✔️ It is discussing “possible” treatment plans. “Treatments” including those which have not been researched in randomized controlled trials and whose benefits up to this point are anecdotal.
Shelves have run out of TOILET PAPER of all things, masks, gloves, medical equipment…these things have all been torn of the shelves. And for what?
Media has had its immense role in all this chaos, but, what about the effects we cannot see?
I am talking about your emotions, your mental health, your peace of mind.🍏
One day you’re watching normal TV, maybe it’s the Price is Right. Possibly in the background, as you are working from home and all the sudden…it stops and it’s an announcement.
There is a new report! Breaking News Live.
So your heart ❤️ starts pumping and you start running like a chicken without a head, thinking… “what NOW”!!
So you stop what you’re doing, hold your breath and watch tentatively and then you see it’s the same news from a while ago. And you go through this multiple times a day. This can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. It will take its toll.
Studies have shown that news coverage can actually extend the anxiety, depression, emotional distress, and even PTSD to those not even exposed to the illness or event. So what can you do to reduce its effect on you and your loved ones? First… self assess.
Are you watching the news constantly?✔️
How much news is too much news for you?✔️
Why is Excessive News Affecting you?✔️
Try to decide for yourself what is too much news and when it is enough. Once you have done that, then these are a few things you can do.
Reduce News Watching
If you feel it’s worrying you and aggravating your mind. Then TAKE A BREAK. It will be there whenever you decide to watch it again, but sometimes, it’s good to take a break. Take the time to focus on other things. The news is a great source of information, but, at the same time, it can fuel anxiety, depression, PTSD and emotional distress.
Being exposed to the stressors of the world is a good way to stay connected and stay up to date…until….it starts to affect your peace of mind. SO, make sure you take weekly or even daily self-checks. Constantly watching the news can cause stress and anxiety.✔️ It can lead to fatigue or sleep loss, which can, in turn, affect your day-to-day life. It may not be good for your mental and even physical health.
So feel free to ask yourself those important questions: How am I feeling today? Am I more anxious than usual? Am I more afraid? Stressed? Worried? Based on your responses, do what is best for YOU.💙
Maybe you were just watching too much news. You can limit the exposure, maybe just check in 2x a day, maybe not at all. It is okay to want to stay informed, so watch enough to be informed, but not enough to cause distress. Find that balance.
Discuss it with the Wiser
Talking to older generations who have successfully lived through tougher times such as wars, economic depressions, and global tragedies can also help you cope. Why? Because they are proof of our ability to survive. Often times, we take our wiser generations for granted. We see them as grandpa and grandma and nothing more. But they are so much more. They are living, breathing history books. So ask them questions. Request their stories of survival. I guarantee, that their stories will be far worse than our current situation. I am a strong believer that bad situations are relative. Our young generations have not lived long enough to go through something like this, so it makes sense, that they feel it is devastating. And I won’t deny that it is. BUT, as with everything in life; It is relative to the worst thing you have ever experienced. So, talking to those who have been through worse, will give you peace of mind; because although you have not been through harder times (maybe); they have. So they know we will all get through this.
Focus on other Activities
life is a carousel that won’t stop moving. Yes, I know, I got that from Grey’s Anatomy, but it is so true. The carousel that is life never stops moving. So we don’t either.
We have all become robots, going through the motions. None of us have the TIME to just press PAUSE and focus on what we NEED rather than what we MUST do. For once, the entire world is at a standstill. The only moving pieces are those required for survival such as hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. This has affected a lot of people. BUT it is also out of your control. What you CAN control is what you do with that time. Do you waste it worrying? Or watching too much TV? Or will you decide to engage in activities that fuel your mind, teach you something? Maybe even allow you to actually live in the moment without having to worry about other things you SHOULD be doing?
What you do with this time is entirely IN YOUR CONTROL. And there are so many options! You can read a book, or watch oldies, maybe play with puzzles or other board games with family or friends. Or meditate, or yoga., or build a weight room in your garage because your gym is closed. Or you can pick up a new hobby. Reconnect with old acquaintances. Make peace with your past.
Listen to your inner thoughts. The choices are endless. It just so happens that life moves so quickly we have all lost our creativity. So take this time to get it back.
Allow this life Experience to Prepare you for the Future
You ask yourself what is happening in the world? We may even see it as rapid dissension into disaster and chaos. But remember this…. It’s all out of our control and it is okay if nothing makes sense.
I have felt like I’m living in a horror movie.
I asked myself, am I dreaming?
I’ve read about the plague, and other outbreaks and more… but ‘read’ is the keyword here. And I think to myself.. is this really happening? But if history has shown me one thing…its that we survive. We survive as a species, as a group. We thrive. Our world has survived so much. We can and will survive this too.
So take our history into account when you decide how you will react to life’s many curveballs.
Will you lose hope and fall into self-destructive habits?
OR will you dig deep and turn this challenging time into a lifetime of strength and survival.
I hope reading this has somehow helped some of you deal with what is going on. Any feeling you have is normal. If you have lost someone to this virus, or someone you know and love is in the hospital because of it, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. For those of you, whose only exposure to this virus is the news and the stories of those around you…I hope this gives you some reassurance that your feelings matter too and I hope you find the strength within each of you to know your limits and make the necessary changes that will give you peace of mind.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt