Ask anyone about the lockdown and the strictest regulations implemented where they live, and you’ll likely get an avalanche of a response claiming that they cannot possibly get used to this way of life. Yes, it can be inconvenient to have a limited amount of time to do your shopping and to be careful to stay those six feet away. The long lines at the pharmacy also don’t help, and not to mention working remotely with the kids jumping around in an attempt not to disturb you.
However, for people with underlying health issues and chronical illness of any kind, the pandemic has brought on a surge of issues, and among them fear. Whether you’re suffering from asthma, diabetes, or you have a heart condition, or anything in between, life during the coronavirus pandemic can be stressful to say the least. To cope, you need to have a set of strategies that will help you manage the stress, reduce the fear, and allow you to enjoy your life as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions that can help.
As we all know, some fear is healthy, as it steers us away from potentially dangerous situations. However, too much of any good thing can pose a threat to your wellbeing, so you should, first and foremost, talk to your doctor about your current state of health. You can then find the most suitable solution for the medication you need to use, schedule calls to share any progress in how you’re feeling, and simply get some support through this difficult time.
Taking excellent care of yourself is somewhat of a norm for you, since your chronic illness pushes you to be mindful of your wellbeing and monitor your health. However, at a time like this, taking those extra precautions matters for your physical as well as your mental health. When you regularly use surgical masks when you interact with people, you’ll simultaneously reduce the risk of pathogen transmissions, and feel more comfortable being out and about.
Some facilities require the use of surgical gloves, too, and they can be helpful to prevent yourself from touching your face. Of course, washing your hands and maintaining that social distance will give you all the more confidence and help you fear less over time.
In most countries, therapists have created entire groups to offer their help in the wake of the pandemic, to help people cope. As someone who is genuinely frightened for their health, you shouldn’t avoid discussing your fears with a professional therapist online.
That way, you can share your feelings and at the same time get some clear, professional guidance as to the most applicable, practical coping strategies to use. Ask around in your community for recommendations and set up a Zoom call with someone who seems like a good fit – you’re bound to feel better in time, and the help you get will serve you later in life, as well.
Sometimes, all we need is a genuine conversation with someone we love. Your friends and family will surely be happy to provide you with support during this difficult time, and to hear out what worries you on a daily basis, to make you laugh, or to offer some of their advice.
Sharing your experience with chronic illness with those who are in a similar state can also be beneficial for your mindset. Simply knowing that you have a community of people who completely understand what you’re going through can be a relief, and they are likely happy to share their own strategies to cope with fear, which will give you more options to choose from.
If your condition allows you to be physically active, all the more reason to try out a wide variety of home-based workouts that are completely free of charge and can be done with no equipment at all. They’ll help boost your mood, reduce cortisol levels in your system, and increase those happy hormones that keep your spirits up. Make your workouts even more effective in reducing stress by pairing them with relaxing rituals before sleep, so that you can eliminate stress-induced insomnia, and get ample rest: which is all vital for your immune system.
Finally, meditation has gained plenty of traction as a method to build a more resilient body and mind, to process your emotions with ease, and to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Research has also shown that it has the potential to help reduce pain in chronic illness, and it’s a wonderful way to put your mind at ease when you’re overwhelmed with fear.
The pandemic will dwindle, and our healthcare systems will go back to normal soon enough, but your preexisting illness will remain. That is why you need to be mindful of your condition, careful in accordance with all the official suggestions, and above all, you need to embrace your feelings. Use these tips to manage your everyday stress and to ensure that your immune system is resilient as possible, but also for the sake of your peace of mind.