By Dr. J. Buzz Von Ornsteiner
Right off the bat, let me just admit I never expected COVID to still be here in this second wave of the pandemic. I thought rather optimistically that at this point, the pandemic would be behind us. However, this is the way it is, and TODAY the way I see it, we roll with the punches and together we will all make it out on TOP.
Although I have gotten my vaccinations, and follow the CDC guidelines, a couple of times I still thought, “OK, this is it, I’ve caught it,” but after a test, it turned out I had only a head cold coupled with my ongoing hay fever. If you’ve had a similar experience, then don’t feel so bad.
It’s only human to have COVID fears! Our brains are pre-wired to protect us, it’s in our DNA keeping in mind that a million years ago, these thoughts of self-preservation helped keep us alive. These thoughts, usually the fear of negative consequences, happen automatically.
The best way is to face your FEARS is to break them down into manageable, realistic solutions.
To help cope with the stress, I’ve developed a plan of action, a kind of helping tool, to keep your pandemic fears from completely ruling your behavior.
As we continue to face this pandemic for the second time around, it’s natural to still be concerned and have justifiable fears. However, over time we can also become emotionally vulnerable to our fears, and with no solution, these thoughts can persist in our mind, producing a mixture of emotions, such resentment, blame, and anger.
At this point, due to our experience with COVID, we have a choice NOT to become more emotionally damaged —-but to be stronger and more able to face whatever challenges we currently encounter.
Whatever your FEARS are during this pandemic, NAME IT, CLAIM IT, and then take steps to develop a reasonable coping strategy so YOU can ultimately function better during this challenging time.
The goal can be to enhance your level of resilience during this second time around.
Below is a simple tool aimed at self-assessing your emotional stability during the pandemic. A way to help you keep your emotions in check when pandemic fears and uncertainties start to rule your emotional brain. Below are four boxes placed together, which help us assess our emotional stability at any given time, with the understanding that all should be equal for us to be functioning at our very best. This isn’t a test, and there is no “right answer,” BUT ask yourself these fundamental questions. Despite the COVID restrictions, – do you feel these four emotional components function equally within your life?
Below are four boxes placed together, which help us assess our emotional stability at any given time, with the understanding that all should be equal for us to be functioning at our very best. This isn’t a test, and there is no “right answer,” BUT ask yourself these fundamental questions. Despite the COVID restrictions, – do you feel these four emotional components function equally within your life?
|LOVE LIFE |
DO YOU HAVE A PERCEPTION OF BELONGING WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY?
DO YOU HAVE A PERCEPTION OF IMPORTANCE WITHIN YOUR LIFE & A SENSE OF SECURITY?
ARE YOU ENGAGING IN PLEASURABLE ACTIVITIES?
DO YOU HAVE A PERCEPTION, THAT YOU HAVE CHOICES WITHIN YOUR LIFE?
There have been drastic changes due to the pandemic, affecting your sense of freedom and to have choices. Your ability to participate in fun or pleasurable activities and being able to seek loving relationships has also been affected. Also affected is the ability to engage socially within your community. At times we may all may feel powerless and insecure on how to meet these very human challenges.
If YOU feel are lacking in any of the areas covered above, YOU AREN’T ALONE. The first step is comprehending what you want to improve upon and then work toward reasonable solutions.
Due to the restrictions placed upon us by the pandemic, how can you still gain loving connections and feel a sense of belonging within your community? If these are already occurring within your life, GREAT!
If not, how can you reach out and gain a more active interaction with others? The start would be to develop some reasonable solutions. Some answers may include spending more time on social media, socializing outside, and continuing to meet face-to-face, where and when you feel comfortable.
Do you have a sense of personal power and feel important and secure within your daily life, despite the restrictions placed upon you by COVID? If not, in what ways can you improve your sense of power and importance in how you feel internally, the goal would be – so you can feel more secure when dealing with the pandemic. Some possible solutions could be. Volunteering to educate your community on the pandemic. Would you consider joining a gym to improve your health? You could also continue to seek more information and education on the pandemic.
All these suggestions may help YOU to have a greater sense of power and control in feeling more secure as you continue to adjust to the pandemic this second time around.
Do you feel you have freedom and choices in how you live your life? Even though there are restrictions, how have you decided to deal with those restrictions? For me, personally I still wear my mask, but when I go to my gym, I take it off and keep my distance from other individuals exercising. These are my choices and that is one of the freedoms I take.
On the subway, I still wear my mask, but when outside on the streets of Brooklyn where I live, I take it off. I retain my sense of freedom and choices within all aspects of my life.
And finally, and most importantly, do you have access to fun and pleasurable activities with your environment? The pandemic has placed more restrictions on how we seek entertainment. For many individuals, this is the most challenging part of their lives to achieve. What would be fun? A fun activity that, individually or within a group, do you have access to, at least weekly?
If you perceive you are lacking in any one or more of these areas – SEEK WAYS TO IMPROVE THEM.
Focus on developing and improving these areas of your life and be creative in seeking those solutions.
Being creative is critical. Research continues to tell us that creative people who are creative in meeting their emotional goals not only live longer but, in general, live more satisfying lives.
Finally, as we go through this second phase, we will continue to regain more of the life we once enjoyed. We can hopefully face our fears by first acknowledging what those fears are. Once named, we can then develop creative solutions to help us to face our fears. BUT the first step is acknowledging where we are at emotionally.
Stay safe, remain well and wishing YOU all my very best,