Author: Sabina Farmer
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a huge negative toll on many people around the world. Although it may seem almost impossible to manage our stress and worry during this difficult time, here are some tips that can help you better manage the panic response.
- Yoga: Moving our body helps us shake off the dysregulation we may be experiencing. Many people may be suffering from trauma-related symptoms, and trauma-informed yoga can help. Benefits from trauma-informed yoga include diaphragmatic breath and restorative postures, and it also helps us avoid patterns that overly engage the sympathetic nervous system.1 Trauma-informed yoga is one of the many therapy services that Family Support Services offers.
- Check-in with your feelings: It is often easy to realize when we are anxious, scared, or angry. Why are we feeling a certain way? Taking the time to focus on our emotions or cognitions related to trauma or a stressor can help develop greater awareness of the effects of our feelings.2 Being aware of our feelings is very beneficial! It will help us become aware of our mental state and allows us to process our emotions instead of repressing them. Try writing down your emotions and connect it to an external event. Writing our feelings down will help us notice a pattern of our emotional responses and identify things that trigger it.
- Make time for meaningful conversations: The antidote to a continuous state of stress has been found to be social communication.3 As humans, we are very social. Friendships and other interpersonal relationships help us fulfill our need to belong. Although we are practicing social distancing, connecting with others via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, or whatever you have to do to communicate with others can help. Talking with others during this stressful time will remind us that we are not alone, and we can even find comfort. Remember to make time to communicate with your loved ones!
- Allow yourself to grieve: Everyone is grieving over different things. Whether it be over how life used to be or the loss of someone special in your life due to COVID-19, it is essential to recognize our grief and experience our emotions. Rather than avoiding grief, emphasizing authentic mourning is the primary healer of a traumatic situation.4 Give yourself time to feel grief. It is a hard situation we are all in, but it is important not to “beat yourself up” over your feelings.
- Distract: Sometimes, it is difficult for us to cope, process, or deal with overwhelming situations. Instead of letting difficult situations control us, we can learn new hobbies or distract ourselves from the situation. Organize around the house, play games with your family, have a movie night, or anything other than self-destructive patterns. Learning healthy coping mechanisms will help take your mind off the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Have healthy boundaries: We may be taking on the burden of other people without realizing it. Worry and preoccupation with other people can be mentally draining. When we catch ourselves feeling overwhelmed with issues that are out of our control, remember to stop, breathe, and change your unproductive thoughts. Practicing healthy boundaries allows us to remember our role and responsibility for problems and challenges.5 Checking on others when you have the time and energy is okay; however, you are not selfish for taking time to focus on yourself when you need it.
- See a therapist: If you feel like coping with this pandemic is entirely unbearable, reach out for help. The counselors of Family Support Services are using Telehealth through a HIPPA protected program. If you are interested in counseling, call 806-342-2500 and ask for counseling services!
- Justice, L., Brems, C., & Ehlers, K. (2018). Bridging Body and Mind: Considerations for Trauma-Informed Yoga. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 28(1), 39-50. doi:10.17761/2018-00017R2
- Ullrich, P., & Lutgendorf, M. (2002). Journaling about stressful events: Effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 24(3), 244-250. doi: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2403_10
- Kram, K., & Hall, D. (1989). Mentoring as an antidote to stress during corporate trauma. Human Resource Management, 28(4), 493-510. doi: 10.1002/hrm.3930280405
- Wolfelt, A. (2014). Reframing PTSD as traumatic grief: How caregivers can companion traumatized grievers through catch -up mourning. Alan D. Wolfelt. (The Companioning Series).
- Robinson-Walker, C. (2016). Manage Negativity by Establishing Healthy Boundaries. Nurse Leader, 14(2), 92-93. doi: 10.1016/j.mnl.2015.12.010
My name is Sabina Farmer, and I am a Prevention Specialist here at Family Support Services. As a Prevention Specialist, I lead and co-lead groups that range from the prevention of drug and alcohol use to giving lessons to help better communication between family members. I was born and raised here in Amarillo, Texas. I recently graduated from West Texas A&M University in December 2019. I would consider myself a homebody, and I am very close with my family. Almost every Sunday, we all get together and have a family dinner. Some things I do for fun are reading, shopping, and hanging out with my family. During my leisure time, I like to watch anything on Netflix or Disney plus or read whatever is on my book list.