COVID-19 has been one scary thing. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have concerns. The concerns lead to anxiety, which is understandable, but what happens when Coronavirus anxiety is off-the-charts and you can’t enjoy your life or focus on anything else? COVID-19 and emotional wellbeing is extremely important. That’s why I’ve developed what I call the “What if” survival guide.
What if I lose my job? What if I don’t get my job back? What if I run out of money? What if I can’t pay my rent or my mortgage? What if I can’t find another job? What if the economy gets worse? What if I can’t afford health care for me and my family?
What if I get the Covid-19 virus? What if one of my family members gets it? What if I can never find a job again? What if I run out of money? What if the sky falls and there is nowhere for me to go? What if this recession turns into a depression? What if we can’t find a vaccine or cure for the Covid virus? What if? What if? What if?
How many of you have fallen into the “What if?” camp? My hand is raised! I’ve done it and I’ve done it almost daily. I’ve done it even though I know it isn’t helpful. I’ve done it even though I’m both a psychologist and a professional coach and I know how unhelpful it truly is. So how can we survive our own “what if” scenarios?
Advice for Coronavirus Anxiety
Survival guide tip #1:
One way to NOT survive it is to tell yourself that you’re stupid for thinking or feeling that way. Not validating your own concerns is the quickest way to shame yourself and to feel even worse. The other way to NOT survive it is to share your “what ifs” with others who aren’t compassionate and will only tell you to, “stop worrying about that.” That’s really diminishing and not helpful at all.
Survival guide tip #2:
It’s helpful to share your what ifs with others who will hold that space for you to get your worries out. If you can do the same for a friend, think of what an amazing gift that would be for Coronavirus anxiety. Find someone to have a “what if” discussion with and agree to just listen to each other without judgment and without trying to fix it for each other. Then maybe from there start to brainstorm possible solutions and plans.
Survival guide tip #3:
Here’s how I cope with Coronavirus anxiety and survive my “what if” thinking. I go there. Yep, I go to the worst-case scenario and I look it right in the face. What if I get the virus? If I get it, I’ll get the medical help that is available to me and I will control what I can. What if one of my family members gets it? I will quarantine them, seek out medical help and wash the heck out of my hands.
I’ve been thinking of other ways to make money if my work decreases. I’ve updated my resume’ and bio in case I decide or need to look for more work. I’ve managed money in the best way that I can and I’ve talked to my family about ways that we can cut back for the time being. I’m controlling what I can and letting those other fears go because they aren’t helpful in any way.
When it comes to Coronavirus anxiety, I look at the “what ifs” and then logically come up with a solution for those worst- case scenarios. By doing this, I figure out what I can control and what I can’t and then I let go of what I can’t control.
By doing this, I put a plan into place for what is under my control and I release what isn’t. I face my worst fears and then plan how to manage them. When I do this, I release some fear and anxiety and I feel like I have control over some aspects of this scary situation.
When I think about the “what ifs” and then try to deny that they scare me, I only push down my feelings and ultimately feel more anxious and worried. That has never helped. So consider facing your biggest fears and then coming up with a safety net plan to manage them.
Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D., CPC is a professional certified life and executive coach, psychologist, and professional speaker. She helps people tackle that “One day I’ll do this and then I’ll be happy” goal, today. You can reach Lisa at Lisa@lisakaplin.com or lisakaplin.com
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