Around this time last year I read an article about the novel virus getting out of control and people escaping the city where it started. Although it was not the first article I read about the virus, it was when I started taking it seriously and imagined for a second that it might affect my way of living as well. Soon enough it turned out to be a real thing, not just an imagination. When there was the first confirmed case for COVID-19 in the city, I started to stock up my pantry in case I might have to stay home, and it happened as if I planned for it. Had I known then that I wouldn’t be able to see my family ever since the Christmas holidays in 2018 and that I would need a total re-adjustment of my life, not just stocking up my pantry, would I have been prepared for what to come early on? I’m not too sure, but there would be no way that I could prepare myself for something that I’ve never experienced before, and it’s the same for everyone. For me it took a tremendous amount of mental processing and physical adaptation to come this far, and now I’ve become a wartime soldier, warrior, and savor of my life in the time when the entire world is fighting against the coronavirus, and I’d like to share what I’ve come to realize and been practicing to combat coronavirus anxiety, fear, and stress that are making an ever-lasting and irreversible impact on every aspect of life and progressing toward a post-coronavirus world.
1. Organize Your Life, Not Just Your Home or Workspace
One day I was reading some random posts online and came across a story of a man who suffered from anxiety and depression. His state of mind was beyond an emotional distress to the point where he even thought of killing himself. Then he looked around his small studio and noticed some items that he does not want other people to see when he is found dead alone in his apartment. I don’t remember if he listed some of those items, but I can only imagine what those items would be if I were him. Then I had a moment of epiphany, which was a parameter for what I should keep in my life and what not. There is a saying from a famous organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, that “you should keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.” I liked that, but his method was more intuitive than deciding whether a certain item sparks joy or not when I’m dealing with stress and fear. For him, it was rather a life or death sentence pronounced for each item along with himself, and this way he was able to have courage to begin anew. Now I apply the same notion to my way of living and reconstruct my daily routines. If this is my chance to live, is this my best way of living? It was the question I began with when I conspired a change in the midst of the pandemic.
2. Write about Yourself: Past, Present and Future
One project I’ve done to make the change was writing about myself every day. Keeping a journal and reflecting on my feelings and concerns helped me ruminate on who I am, what I’m concerned about, and where I’d like to be headed in near future. For me, the very act of writing and focusing on myself helped me relieve anxiety and stress, and by the time I entered 2 months of writing daily, many of my insecurities, doubts, and uncertainties became explainable. Now I have more confidence in coping with fear because I know where it is coming from. Keeping a journal doesn’t have to feel like homework. You can write just one sentence when your day is busy, or you can keep a journal with a specific subject like a gratitude journal or a manifestation journal. Soon enough, you will find yourself enjoying your own words, navigating through your own thoughts and feelings. One day you might be composing a poem! When everything seems like it has stopped, something has to keep going in your life and stack up like a record so that you don’t feel like your time is wasted away and that you have kept on living, thinking, and creating.
3. Care for Yourself: Healthy Body and Mind
Anxiety and fear caused by the pandemic is somewhat different from how they used to feel before because they are more life-threatening than ever. Before the pandemic, those negative feelings were mostly caused by personal reasons and occasionally caused by bigger-than-life issues, but now that anxiety and fear are predominant across the world, it feels like the world has an imminent danger which will be followed by its repercussions. Mind control helps in this case, such as meditation, listening to ASMR, and other therapeutic methods, but the mind and body go together when you want to make a proper defense system against any negativity caused by the coronavirus. Boost your immune system by eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping well. Be aware physically, not only mentally. The strong mind will keep you safe when you are stressed out, but only the strong body will hold your mind and keep you safe during the pandemic. Remember that I said I’ve become a wartime soldier, warrior, and savor? It would be nice if you arm yourself with a good immune system as well and have more confidence in your chance of survival.
4. Focus on Self-Development
When you feel more confident in your physical and mental health, it’s time to develop more productive survival skills. Part of the reason why people have coronavirus anxiety is that they are concerned about the future. Would there be a job? How could I make payments? Would I be able to travel and see my family? Many of these questions entail not only hopes and dreams but also uncertainties and fear for failures. Because the future is the very next day that you will be living on, the reality of making a living for the next five to ten years, and the dreams of accomplishing your goals as you grow older, it is obvious that you feel anxious about it. For me, I like a realistic and practical solution for these matters. Beyond anxiety medication, calming anxiety tips, and anxiety meditations, I’d like to have hands-on techniques for anxiety relief, and the only way to deal with fear is to develop my survival skills. Taking online classes, developing hobbies into business, and studying for certifications will upgrade your skills and increase the potential for your success. Like the famous quote from Algernon Sydney “God helps those who help themselves,” do what it takes to equip yourself with survival skills.
5. Share Your Struggles with Your Family and Friends
When you feel like you are in control of your mind, body, and life, it’s time to share your experiences with your family and friends. Because it is a difficult time to get together, communication has become ever more important, and people need to put extra effort to stay connected and to pay attention to the needs of their loved ones. Despite its importance, I did not list it on top because sharing your fear and anxiety can cause other people to feel the same way when they are not prepared. Instead of dumping your negative feelings onto your loved ones, focus on self-care and share your struggles with your family and friends. Because we are only humans and often get tired of trying, you may feel discouraged one day and anxious the other day, and it is absolutely okay. These tips are neither very new nor guarantee your happiness, and you already know what you can do but you don't. I truly believe it’s time for action now, and what matters is that in your effort to overcome anxiety, fear, and depression, you are caring for yourself and your loved ones.