How to handle anxiety in the next phase of the "new normal"
Society is beginning to work towards reopening in a post COVID-19 world, setting off a new wave of anxiety towards reintegrating into this "new normal". It's understandable to feel stressed about the unknown of what is to come. Considering these unprecedented times, traditional coping skills may not work in this situation.
"When it feels like your coping skills aren't working anymore, remember we are living through some of the most challenging times we will ever face. It is completely normal to hit a wall with your coping skills and you are not alone in this experience," says Jennifer Kugler, LPC, ACS, Senior Program Director, Behavioral Health Services. "Sometimes it's important to take a step back, take a deep breath and acknowledge that you're trying and that sometimes we all need to make adjustments in how we cope in order to feel better."
As we transition back into society, remember these 5 tips to handle stress when your coping skills just don't seem to work:
1. Try to stay calm. Your coping skills may not be working due to the stress you're putting your body under due to the mental anxiety you feel. Attempt to practice your methods when you are in a calmer, more tranquil state so your body can truly feel the effects. Practice deep breathing, focus on self-care, and avoid self medicating with drugs or alcohol.
2. Stay connected. Many of us feel quite isolated due to the pandemic, so it's important to build a support system and stay in touch with friends and family.
3. Practice self-compassion. Acknowledge that these are very tough times. Accepting the situation you are in will help move forward in healing.
4. Become comfortable with not knowing the answers to everything. If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it's that no one can predict the future. Sit in your discomfort and come to terms with not knowing exactly what's to come.
5. Try something new. This applies to both coping skills and personal hobbies. It may feel hard to return to who you were pre-quarantine, so trying out new activities can help you build new passions to reinvigorate your life. As far as coping skills go, if you've avoided certain tecniques before, give it a try. For example, meditation, creative outlets, or breath work.
This transition is difficult for everyone. If you're experiencing serious anxiety or mental health issues, our counseling and telehealth services can help.