Thriving During COVID-19 While Social Distancing
Thriving during COVID-19 will take a shift in mindset, and that’s tougher than we think—especially when we’re afraid. Fear and anxiety can drive us to become very self-focused. The evidence from public health experts is clear. The threat from the COVID-19 virus is real, but it’s not absolute. Denial is unsafe, and panic never served anyone. When we go into fight or flight response, the executive functions of our brains go offline, and we can’t see clearly. This makes us prone to bad decisions that at best waste our time, energy and resources when we need them most, or at worst put ourselves and others at risk.
What can you do to stay calm?
If you’re feeling stressed, pay attention to how you’re breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and let it out slowly from your mouth, focusing on belly breathing. This will calm the fight or flight response and reboot your prefrontal cortex so you can use your critical thinking.
Then, get curious about what’s happening. What do you really know? What’s most important right now for you? What information, resources, and other support do you need, or can you provide to others through this challenge? This is what it means to keep our wits about us.
What resources are available?
There are many resources we have access to—whether you need to destress, stay active and healthy, or talk to a therapist. Here are a few:
- Calm or Headspace: Meditation and sleep apps.
- Talkspace: Counseling and therapy app.
- Happify: An app with science-based activities and games to help overcome negative thoughts and stress.
- MyFitnessPal: Fitness app that tracks diet and exercise.
- Telemedicine: Connect with certified doctors online with your smartphone or computer (e.g. LiveHealth Online, Virtual Visits).
- Employee Assistance Programs: An employer-sponsored resource to find the right solutions for your needs.
Remember, our fight or flight response evolved to help us overcome simple challenges, and our prefrontal cortex evolved to help us overcome more complex ones like this. By paying attention, taking a deep breath, and remaining curious, we can ensure we see clearly so we can act wisely in response to these challenges.