In times of turmoil, we often don’t know what is coming next, whether it is a pandemic or a personal crisis. This can make planning seem impossible. However, we can usually plan for various contingencies. Having a plan will help you ensure that you are better able to deal with an evolving situation. Just as importantly, creating a plan helps you take some measure of control. In turbulent times, the feeling that we have no control over what is happening can contribute greatly to our anxiety. Be proactive. Don’t just wait for events to hit you.
So, consider what you will do if the crisis goes on for an extended period. Think about what you need to do for your family. Consider their physical well-being, but also their emotional needs. Take stock of your resources such as food, shelter and finances. Give thoughts to others in your life that may be especially vulnerable. In this pandemic, don’t just think about what you will do to get by if you remain healthy, give consideration what you will do if you get sick and what you will do if everyone in your household gets sick.
Take steps to focus your mind on these decisions such as writing down your plan. It will help you to make the sense of taking action more real, and to identify everything you need to consider.
Currently, we are being asked to enact social distancing. However, we often pull away from others when we are troubled. This tendency maybe natural, but it is usually not helpful. Even if you can’t be with other people, staying in touch with others will help you cope and lift your mood.
In Italy right now, people are singing or playing music or literally applauding healthcare workers. People are staying in touch to keep their own spirits up and to help their neighbours.
You may not have a balcony or ready to serenade your neighbours. Even though you need to keep your distance, make a point of going outside and talking to them. Yard work days and set out the trash nights provide opportunities to see others. Go for a walk in the morning and say hello to the dog walkers. Make a point of calling friends and family members more often than you normally do. Even better, make video calls to see other people. If you have a limited circle around you, share your thoughts on social networks. Be open with your concerns. You are likely to be helpful to others and their mutual support will likely be helpful to you.
Shared emergencies such as a pandemic generate a stream of news and government updates. To stay empowered and make smart decisions for yourself and those you care about, staying informed is important. However, watching sometimes grim news for hours at a time can be emotionally harmful. Make a point of getting away from the news. Take time to unplug. Get outside. Do something silly. Watch a good comedy (there’s a reason we have the term ‘comedic relief’). Make activity away from the news part of your plan.