How to Cope During Unsettling Times……..

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As the coronavirus spreads throughout the world, each of our lives has changed in ways we could never have imagined. For many, a steady paycheck has evaporated. Hospitals and health care workers on the front lines are overwhelmed. Parents frantically juggle their new work-from-home jobs while caring for their out-of-school children.

The biggest elephant in the room, of course, is that no one knows the size of the crater—medically, socially, financially—the virus will leave in each of our lives. It’s no wonder so many of us feel anxious right now. How do we find comfort in a world that feels so uncertain?

First, rest assured that in times like these, an increased level of anxiety is normal. But before you move to an underground bunker or board up your windows, let’s cover five ways to feel better when the world makes you feel a jumble of negative emotions.

1. Feel what you feel.

Somewhere between fake-smiling and utter despair lies a third way: Acknowledge what you feel and channel it into action. Any emotion—alarm, anger, anxiety, sadness, or fear—is both “mentionable and manageable.” The key is to do both—mention and manage.

Therefore, honor your feelings. Then allow them to turn you both inward—towards gratitude for what you have—and outward—towards contributing, sharing, and supporting where you can. Which brings us to the second tip…

2. And let your feelings move you to help.

No matter your emotion, harness that power. Turn emotion into action. Give of your time, energy, and money while keeping yourself safe. Team up with a food bank to deliver meals to vulnerable people in your community or check on older neighbors with a chat through the door. If you’re fortunate enough to still be receiving a paycheck, donate to a reputable non-profit  Indeed, action can help stave off the hopelessness and helplessness that sometimes pairs with strong emotion.

In short, rather than trying to stop the wave of emotion or resign yourself to drowning in it, do your best to swim with the currents and maybe even hold up someone else.

3. Consume media wisely.

Find a balance between poring over the news all day long and shutting out the world. If you feel gutted after scrolling, watching, or listening, consider limiting your time or switching to a less distressing news source.

 The same rules apply to social media. A simple way to decide whether you’ve had enough? How do you feel when you log off? If the answer is “worse than when I logged on,” consider limiting your time on the platforms. If the answer is “better than when I logged on”—you’re using the platforms as intended.

Alternatively, weigh taking a break from social media altogether.

4. Search out the good news. 

Journalism faces a unique challenge. For news organizations to survive, they have to generate clicks and views to attract advertisers. And in an attention economy, what makes us click more than conflict, divisiveness, and tragedy?

Good news doesn’t give us the same adrenaline rush as bad news, but in times like these, tune into outlets that share good news, to restore your faith in humanity.

 5. Connect with your fellow humans.
Connecting with others is key to finding comfort and purpose in the shadow of today’s headlines. Reach out to those you love and those you’re thinking about with a text, a good old-fashioned phone call.
So to the literally billions in the same boat: Hang in there. Feel what you feel, let it compel you to action, search out good news as a counterweight, take a break when you need it, and, most importantly, reach out to your friends and loved ones. Even when the headlines read like a dystopian novel, remember the story is still rich with heroes and humor and love.

 

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