How to cope when the world is in crisis

In the current climate it seems like everything is putting panic at the forefront of our mind.  Statistics, charts, speeches, websites, etc. are rampant with information and it is difficult to know who to believe.  While it is important to make sure your information is accurate before you share, or rely on it for your own safety; it is also important that you check your coping skill usage to ensure you are managing and not causing additional stress on yourself or others.  So how do you cope when the world is in crisis?


Helpful Coping Skills

When you are feeling overwhelmed, breathing can help to get oxygen flowing and allow you to focus on the here and now. It slows down your thoughts and brings your attention to this moment.

Visualization can allow for you to improve your thoughts. Consider a safe place or a happy place. Picture yourself there and notice what you are doing.  Use the 5,4,3,2,1 method.  Notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This allows you to be more present focused and reduce your attention on the things you cannot control.

Bilateral activities are known to open the doorway to your logic center when the only one open has been your emotion center. A 15-20 minute walk will clear your head and allow for more rational processing.

Tension builds up in our bodies and sometimes we are not even aware of it. Start with your toes and tighten them and then relax them. Do this 3 times each with each muscle group in your body all the way up to your eyes.  Please take caution to not engage in any physical activity that may produce any type of pain.

Sometimes we just need to vent a little. Connect with a trusted friend, family member, colleague and just share.

It is a scary place out there right now. We have been encouraged to “social distance” ourselves from others.  This is preventative in nature.  It doesn’t mean you cannot say “hello” to someone you see or offer a smile.  It doesn’t prevent us from calling someone to see if they are okay or just to talk about anything other than what we are all reading/watching in the media.

“Social distancing” does not mean that you cannot engage with people and participate in many of our daily activities. It means to be careful and allow some separation to avoid potential transmission of something we might not be aware we have.  Think smart not from fear.

Wash your hands before and after engaging with someone.  If you are in an office setting, control your own door knob. Walk people in and out of your office to reduce transmission.  Use caution for any surfaces that may have been touched and wipe these down with a disinfecting wipe or use a product that will reduce the spread of viruses.  Just remember to be human.  If it is simply not possible to work within this framework, consider doing virtual visits with others. The Mindly Group can provide telehealth services that will be covered under most insurance companies (some exclusions do apply, so check with your insurance carrier).

We are all in this together and we need to be mentally ready to offer support to others.

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHCS, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC