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Counselling Therapist informs residents on the correct ways to cope with the Covid-19 epidemic and national lockdown.
In this stressful time of isolation one can’t help but wonder how one will cope, especially mentally.
Being isolated and uncertain can be a scary experience, especially for those who have to cope being on their own for 21 days.
Nadine van Rensburg, counselling therapist suggested ways for residents to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.
“During self-isolation, expect to go through many different emotional stages such as optimism, determination, satisfaction and frustration, depression, anger, acceptance, making meaning and finally anticipation,” Nadine stated.
Entering the first couple of days of lockdown, one will experience the optimism of finally getting to all the side projects you’ve been wanting to work on, or improve a certain skill, or maybe take up that hobby. After a while some will experience determination to push through the lockdown, which is followed by the feeling of frustration. Feeling frustrated can easily give rise to feelings of demotivation, hopelessness or despair, and slipping into depression. As humans we tend to deal with depression by experiencing anger, which leads to venting. After releasing the frustration we accept the situation and try to let go of what you can’t control, and remember the meaning of self-isolation.
“The social distancing, quarantine measures, school closures and working from home have increased the number of stressors that people have to cope with. For people with pre-existing mental-health issues, this time could be extremely difficult, especially those who had been able to find a good equilibrium, but now find a re-emergence of symptoms,” she explained.
One way of coping, she explained, is to have a getting-started routine or a morning routine that allows you to transition psychologically into work mode. “For those working from home, try to stick to a schedule or regular work hours – start and end work each day around the same time, and go to bed and wake up at the same time.”
It’s helpful to try and avoid the cause of distress, meaning anything related to Covid-19 as this can help set the mind at ease and allow it to settle down again. Otherwise, we’re constantly triggering the mind into a state of worry. When you do seek information and updates on the pandemic, do so at specific times and from trusted sources.
When you are dealing with anxiety, note and acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety as they arise in your mind. “Pause! Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe. Pull back. Tell yourself: this is just the worry talking, and this need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or a feeling. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Thoughts are not statements of facts. They are just thoughts,” she explained.
Sometimes, when people have no choice but to be around people they normally would do anything they could to avoid, there can be a slight shift in the dynamic and more accommodations made on each side, or more effort to be on your best behaviour. “In a family system, if even one person makes the tiniest of changes the way they behave, it will have a ripple effect on the rest of the family. My advice would be to try to make a small change in behaviour or in the way you respond, as you’ll typically find that others have no choice but to respond differently too.”
This is also the time to nurture friendships and reach out to old friends that you haven’t caught up with in a long time. Set up group video chats. This can be anything from just a check-in with everyone, to virtual happy hours, to playing games online. Invest in strengthening your existing relationships and support systems.
This can make us aware that there is meaning in suffering while we discover our perseverance, persistence and strength while seeking our purpose during this challenging time. “We are left with a beautiful choice of our attitude towards this epidemic, while we can live out our creativity based on our attitudinal choice,”she concluded.
I am trained to assist you work through these issues and experience the joy and happiness of life. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website at www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: Roodepoort Record
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