Everyone seems to be overly stressed and difficult these days. The Coronavirus has taken a steep toll on people and it effects on how they treat others is now plainly evident. Folks are angry. They are upset, they are rude and disrespectful. Few are exempt from the stresses of COVID-19.
However, some are taking advantage of these difficult times to be productive and creative. They are learning new things and are challenging themselves. They resist the negative aspects and are instead taking positive steps and reacting to this harsh setting so as to better themselves. The negative infuriated people seem to really hate these positive, content people. They are very irritated by them.
So, which camp are you in? Are you happy? Are you sad? Or, are you in someplace in the middle?
Obviously, the place to be is on the positive side of the equation. Stress takes a serious toll on people’s health. It is rather debilitating to be a self imposed victim of the COVID-19 stress. Self imposed? Yes, being affected by stress can be a matter of personal choice. If you accept the stress into your life, then it can hurt you. However, you have the ability to reject stress and roll with these adverse pressures. The choice is for you to make.
Stress is a normal physiological response to an abnormal situation. As such, it is part and parcel of our lives. It enables our body to adapt to the multiplicity of positive and negative events that we experience, like a birth, marriage, loss of employment, etc. Stress comes and goes on its own, depending of what factors are involved. For example, if you feel stressed on the job but less so at home in the evening or on the weekend, we could deduce that the stressors are work-related.
Contrary to fear, which is a response to a well-defined and very real threat, anxiety is a response to a vague or unknown threat. Anxiety manifests itself when we believe that a dangerous or unfortunate event may take place and are expecting it. Everyone experiences anxiety at their own individual degree and intensity. How the anticipated event is perceived will greatly influence the intensity of the anxiety experience.
All of these symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression are very normal in the context of a pandemic. Most people have the resources and mental strength to adapt to this type of situation. You should first rely on how you usually adapt to difficult situations. Here are a few other ways for you to minimize the repercussions of these reactions in your daily life.
Insufficient and/or contradictory information may aggravate the reactions.
- Use reliable sources of information, the official website of the governments.
- Be wary of sensationalist news reports from little known or dubious sources. Take the time to confirm such information with officially recognized sources.
- While it is important to stay adequately informed, limit the time taken to seek information about COVID-19 and its consequences. Information overload can aggravate your reaction to stress, anxiety and depression.
Take care of yourself
- Be attentive to your feelings, emotions, and reactions and allow yourself to voice them to someone you trust. Write them down or express them through physical or other types of activity.
- Make use of physical activity to let the stress out and eliminate tension.
- Practice healthy living habits like proper nutrition and sufficient sleep.
- Limit your access to stressors.
- Allow yourself life’s little pleasures such as listening to music, taking a warm bath, reading, etc.
- Remain in contact with people that do you good.
- Remind yourself of winning strategies you used in the past to get through difficult times.
- Count on your own strengths.
- Set limits for yourself, such as refusing a task that you do not want to do and that is non-essential.
- Learn to delegate and let others help you (this might be asking your children to do the dishes).
When should I seek help?
Generally speaking, overcoming reactions to stress, anxiety, and depression is possible. Still, some unease may persist for some weeks or months, and even worsen. The following may be signs that your state of health is deteriorating.
These signs may mean that your personal resources no longer suffice to manage your worries on a daily basis. Seeking help could be beneficial.
- Feelings of suffocation, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea
- Major sleep problems
- Pronounced reduced appetite, possibly associated with weight loss
- Low energy and pronounced fatigue or exhaustion
Psychological and emotional symptoms
- Anxiety and overwhelming fear
- Feeling panicked when you hear talk of the virus
- Negative pervasive thoughts
- Loss of pleasure and interest in activities that you usually enjoy
- Difficulty in carrying out daily tasks
- Avoiding anyone from outside the home because of fear of contagion
- Obsessively monitoring coronavirus symptoms
- Intense, frequent crying
- Pronounced irritability and aggression, conflict with other members of the household
- Inability to concentrate
- Alcohol, drug and medication abuse
If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression, you can contact numerous local governmental agencies or healthcare services for help. They are confidential and non-judgemental. They are all there to help, nothing more. Psycho-social intervention professionals will offer you support and provide information and advice according to your needs.
While we all endure this pandemic, it is important to appreciate that it will not last forever. Yes, life is changing and may never return to what it once was, but this is an opportunity to make it something new, special, and positive. Embrace the changes and focus on positive thoughts and actions.
Remember, it’s just the storm before the calm!
Luba. (1984). Storm before the Calm. Song. Retrieved on August 1, 2020 from, https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/8944282/Luba/Storm+Before+the+Calm
Quebec Government. (2020). Stress, anxiety and depression associated with the coronavirus COVID-19 disease. Gouvernement du Quebec. Retrieved on August 1, 2020 from, https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/stress-anxiety-and-depression-associated-with-the-coronavirus-covid-19-disease/
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He offers his services on a contracting basis. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 20 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.