24 Jun How Using These 3 Simple Therapeutic Techniques Can Help You De-Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Over the last few months, we have been put to the ultimate test as a society. Between the fears of becoming physically ill, losing loved ones, and facing financial hardships, many of us are struggling. Although many states are beginning to re-open, fear of COVID-19 and its ramifications are ongoing.
It’s completely normal to be content at times yet anxious at other times, especially when thinking about what the future holds with this unpredictable virus. A key factor to keep in mind is the way you handle stress has a huge effect on your long-term ability to cope and future well-being.
Fortunately, there are three R’s to remember and practice that can help you to improve your emotional health during this pandemic.
1. Radical Acceptance
In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, radical acceptance is the skill of accepting the things you can’t change. Radical means “complete and total accepting in mind, heart and body.” Acceptance in this case, equals “seeing reality for what it is, even if you don’t like it.” Letting go of the struggle allows us to better problem solve. When we stop fighting reality, we can see the situation as it is and determine the next best steps.
This skill is especially relevant during COVID-19, as many people are struggling to face new realities, whether that be the loss of a loved one or a job. Accepting the reality allows us to shift our focus to things that are within our control.
Fully accepting the situation can also allow for corresponding emotions to move through the body which can then help us to begin healing and get us on the road to feeling better.
Remember, acceptance does not equal approval in this situation. Acceptance here is more about acknowledging reality as it is and letting go of the idea of what it was “supposed to be”‘ or “should be.”
Think of challenging times in your life and focus on how you managed during those moments. What did you do to get through it?
Spend time re-visiting situations in which you coped and remember your strength. Trusting you will recover and prevail during challenging times only increases your chances of doing so. Predicting and expecting the worst only increases anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.
Research shows that strategizing during difficult moments helps even the most intense feelings of despair to pass. Talk to friends and family about difficult challenges they’ve faced in their life and how they made it through. Listening to podcasts or reading books about other people’s triumphs can help to further motivate and change our perspective on our current situation, renewing our energy and giving us hope.
3. Relaxation Techniques
Finding time to relax in this stressful world is extremely important. Many of us are struggling as our typical relaxation techniques are no longer available. Now is the time to explore new ways to unwind.
One simple way is to unplug from social media and the news. Even taking short breaks can be beneficial for your well-being and improve your mood. Use this time to distract yourself by reading a book, cooking a new recipe, or simply binge-watching your favorite Netflix show.
Many of us associate true relaxation with a vacation, which may not be feasible this year. However, you can still take yourself on a “mental vacation.” Think back to a time where you last felt relaxed, whether this was on a literal vacation or in the company of friends and family. Take in the sights, think about your senses, what did you see, hear, and smell? Notice how you feel after a few minutes and repeat as often as necessary.
Again, the most important thing is to face these emotions head on, rather than avoid them. When we avoid, emotions can intensify and can lead to larger issues. These three techniques can be used individually or together when facing a challenging situation.
Lastly, practice, practice, practice! These techniques are not always easy at first and will become easier over time.
Authored by: Jennifer Jamgochian