The COVID pandemic is an epidemiological crisis, but also a psychological one.
Now let’s talk coping. Coping is not a “one size fits all” prescription. Your coping will depend on the state of your nervous system, as well as your life stage. “We are all not in the same boat…we are in the same storm.”
Below is a chart illustrating Polyvagel Theory. Basically, our system can respond in different ways to stressors. Sometimes when we encounter stress, we feel tense and anxious, like “fight or flight.” IF we noticed we were elevated in this way, our coping would involve calming the system back into balance.
However, sometimes our system responds to stress by “shutting down.” In this state, we don’t have energy to think and act. This feels more like depression. IF we notice our system has gone inert, our coping will involve some behavioral activation to bring us back towards balance.
Being in-balance is not a static state either. It takes coping to keep our system balanced.
General Supports and CONNECTION
- Self-care. You can listen here to a talk I gave to members of Thrive Fitness Club, in St. Charles. At the 27-minute mark you can hear more about ayurvedic daily routine recommendations to help in maintaining balance and harmony in your body and mind.
In general, here are a few things we know that are good general supports:
- Eat nutritious foods and get Vitamin D
- Sleep – TED Talk: Matt Walker – “Why sleep matters now more than ever”
- Move – online platforms Thrive, OTF, private, yoga/Prana
- Be outside
- Limit media/news
- Engage and connect wisely
- Stay connected – networks, phone, video chat, social media, old school letter writing – social supports are essential in trauma
- Engage in activities that are life enhancing, with your full presence: learning something new; being creative
- Help if you are able
- Relax/8 “healing salves”
- Check in
- Name your pain – journal, talk about it
- What you are feeling is understandable – this too belongs
- If you don’t deal with it on emotional level, it manifests on physical level (pain, migraine)
- Seek support in re-emergence: PCP, counselor, faith-based leader
It’s going to take time to adjust to a “new normal.” We’ve been sheltered for two months. Think about that. When we are sheltered, we’re deprived of experiences and become “thin skinned.” Honor the time you need and seek the support you need. Also, look forward to feeling more human again!