Aren't We Over Covid Yet?
Following the Covid pandemic with lockdowns, virtual schooling, and social limitations; many people have started to feel like they were “somewhat back to normal life.” Students and adults that I have been assisting with the stresses of Covid seemed to be moving into a period of restored living and general well-being. They have resumed activities, visited with friends, reconnected with family members and begun participating in many events without masks or other limitations.
What about the Delta Variant?
However, the Delta Variant of the Covid 19 virus brought a pause to some of the exhalations of relief by many. Due to the reportedly more contagious Delta Variant, Covid 19 cases are rising again in certain regions, breakthrough infections are reported in a small number of vaccinated individuals, and some indoor mask mandates have been reinstated. People are finding the reprieve that they were experiencing from pandemic-induced anxiety coming to an end.
How Do I Emotionally Deal with the Delta Variant and Societal Reactions?
In dealing with these changes, it is important for each of us to go back to the toolbox and utilize the skills that we’ve already learned from the first round of the pandemic. I have discussed many of these strategies in my past blog article and YouTube video, "Coping with the Stress of COVID-19.” In facing the Delta Variant, courage involves taking steps forward even amidst some fear of the unknown. Fear solves nothing. It limits us and holds us back from being present in a given situation and deciding what to think and what to do next. Execution without fear is a state that we can aspire to in dealing with these challenges. Let’s look at a few tips in regard to coping with the latest developments.
- First, maintain your healthy life disciplines in order to keep your mind, your body, and your life as consistent as possible. Get appropriate sleep, exercise, spend intentional time with your family, continue to make progress on your “to do list.” Engage in spiritually and emotionally healthy activities, such as meditation, prayer, reading, and connection with others. Make your bed. Take out the trash. Do the little things that continue to keep things running in your household and your life.
- Second, find soothing with the least side effects in coping with the current stresses of the situation. We all need some kind of soothing, or “feel goods,” in our lives. I recommend finding the most effective “feel goods” that you can with the fewest side effects. Sometimes we can be drawn to soothing activities which feel good in the moment but can become excessive, like drinking alcohol, eating, watching TV, engaging in social media, or watching the news. Take care not to become overly reliant on soothing activities which have side effects, as some can attest, for example, to a “Covid 19 weight gain” during the more restrictive segment of the pandemic. Some examples of “feel goods” with little side effects are exercise, walking, good conversation, reading, the arts, faith expressions, fun home projects, and music. I recommend being intentional about your coping and continuing to foster positive approaches to dealing with stress.
- Third, make your best decisions and live with them as you’re navigating your choices in regard to a response to the Delta Variant. I would recommend that you don’t become overly reliant upon social media, the news media, or others’ opinions to decide what’s best for you and your family. Where you have a choice, consult with reputable sources when obtaining information and utilize them the best that you can. Then, consider the options thoughtfully and make your best choice. Be understanding of your neighbors and friends as they are doing the same to make their best choices. Avoid getting into debates with others who are making different decisions than you are as this can cause undue stress and harm your relationships with others.
- Lastly, try to foster positivity in your life as you’re moving forward. As you know, there will be many other challenges in addition to Covid that you will face as you live your life. Foster mental resilience and positivity as often as you can. Talk to positive people. Read positive and uplifting things. Listen to podcasts, videos, and other sources which can help you with your momentum. One of the most important freedoms that we each have is to choose how we think. Take responsibility for who you are and what you’re going to think about your current situation. The worst things in life are not what happens to us, it’s the negative things we think about what is happening to us that can be most damaging. Stay on a positive track as you navigate the new challenges of the Delta Variant.