First, let’s acknowledge how strange and real it is to use that word: Pandemic. Yet here we are. If you had asked yourself last year what a global pandemic would look and feel like, do you think this would be it?
If you’re feeling anxious right now – and the majority of individuals of all ages and backgrounds are – then you can probably safely say that 1) this is a new and unsettling experience, and 2) there are strange things (like empty grocery store shelves) that feel like a movie we’ve all seen.
I’m here to tell you that we can manage through this together. Specifically, let’s talk about managing our immediate anxieties to get through the next hour, the next day, the weekend and next week.
- It’s Okay To Not Be Okay. Say that to yourself. Write it on a piece of paper and hold it in your pocket. It’s okay to not be okay.
- Anxiety is Part of Our Humanity. Anxiety is the fear of something negative and irreversible happening. It’s evolutionary that we feel this way. The fear of the unknown and catastrophic and unchangeable / irreversible events. The reality is, while some things are changing, most of this will pass and life will go back to normal. Remember that your anxiety is an evolutionary default to protect you, and it’s okay to own the definition and remember that very little is irreversible. While it is a default emotion for our ancestors to live with, it’s a response we need to look at and then acknowledge it’s not entirely necessary.
- Look for the Monster Under the Bed. Remember being a child (or I still do this sometimes as an adult) and you have a feeling there is a monster in the closet or under the bed? And you have to look to show yourself it’s not there? This is exactly what we have to do with our anxiety right now. Because yours is different than mine, there is no article that can fix it for you. But you can go there, look under the bed, and see if it is really as scary, real or possible as your emotions think it is. This is a proven psychology practice but really shows we have evolutionary defaults of fear that we can then rationalize and decide if they’re real. So make a list of all the very specific things you’re scared of. Play out the worst case scenario. Just like a fire drill. And you can do this with your kids. Are you scared of another 2009 recession? Play out all the details and make a worst-case-scenario plan. Scared of getting the COVID-19 virus? Make the plan for what you’ll do if you do. It’s okay to meet your fears, see them as real, and make the plan in case they happen. The result? They’re less emotional, you have a plan and a real sense of control. Then you can go on living in the present moment.
Want to talk more? Sign up for my professional coaching hours here or read my other articles on what to do if your job has disappeared this week or you’re working remote.
About the Author
Kim is the founder of Centrally Human, a human-centric organization focused teaching growth through workshops, online classes, professional coaching and keynotes. Centrally Human works with all organizations and individuals to unleash growth by tapping into the awesome power of our human spirit, individuality and innovation. She is an award-winning author, entrepreneur, executive and licensed professional coach and university professor with bachelor and master degrees from Northwestern University. She’s also a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and counselor.