March 30, 2020

How to manage the stressful fear of coronavirus

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy and staying in your home, social distancing; I know that can be very difficult at this time. If you did not see last week’s post, I hope you will watch last week’s post. I had four different strategies on how you can stay healthy and happy and be resilient during this time of crisis.

Today, I want to do more of that and I really want to focus on how to reduce the fear of coronavirus because this is pretty fearful stuff. You know, we’re fearful of the consequences; What if I get coronavirus? What if one of my children gets coronavirus? What if one of my best friends, my family, my extended family?

The other fear is ‘am I going to lose my shirt?’ I think about how I was going to put my house on the market. I can’t put it on the market anymore because of the coronavirus. I’m thinking, what if this cuts my housing price in half? I don’t even want to look at my stock portfolio right now because it’s probably devastated my portfolio, you know? So these are all things that in my head, I’m fearful as to what the economic repercussions are going to be for me.

Keep it in Perspective

The first strategy I want to share with you on how to deal with all of these fears is to keep it in perspective.

So, I think about the worst-case scenario to put things in perspective. And I think:

‘What if my house is going to be worth half of what it was earlier in the year?’

‘What if my stock portfolio is half of what it was or a third of what it was before going into this crisis?’

‘What if I get the coronavirus?’

I take each one of those kinds of worst-case scenarios and I try to think about what is the likelihood that that is going to happen.

For example, ‘what if my house is worth half of what it was at the beginning of the year?’ Then, what is the likelihood that that’s going to happen? Well, luckily for me, I live in an area of Toronto where there’s a housing shortage; Toronto has always been a hot market.

Let’s hope that that’s not going to be the case. If that is the case, what would I do? Well, I’m very fortunate. I don’t have to sell my house at this time. I did not buy another house. I don’t have to sell this house at this time. I’m fortunate that I have the financial resources to keep it for another year if I want to keep it for another year. This is not going to be the end of the world.

If the worst-case happens, it’s not going to be the end of the world for me. What if that happens, though? Then I will put a plan in place, maybe renegotiate the mortgage that I have, etcetera. I’m starting to think about all the things I can do to maintain the house that I have if I have to stay in it for another year or two.

So that’s good. And also keeping it in perspective;

At least I’m not going to be homeless.

At least I still have a roof over my head.

At least I have a place for my family to live.

When I think about keeping it in perspective, I think of the people around the world. We live better in Canada than a good percentage of the population around the world. Even if I did lose my home, I’m still way better off than a lot of people who live in this world. I’ve got to keep things in perspective. It’s not great to think about that but I know me, I will recover. I will find other ways to make revenue and I will succeed and I’m confident that I will do that. I’m confident that you will do it and you will succeed and we can all help each other as well.

I know through the graciousness and the generosity of friends that have shown me their beauty, I know that things are going to be okay in the end. So, think of the worst-case scenario then really ask yourself what is the most likely scenario and then put a plan in place for what you’re going to do should the worst-case scenario happen. That’s how I put things in perspective.

I’ll deal with it then.

The second tool I want to talk to you about is the tool I call ‘I’ll deal with it then’. When I think about getting the coronavirus, instead of being fearful, first of all, I put it in perspective, then I think, well what if the worst case was to happen? – I put a plan in place for that.

I have all the medications I need to be prepared should I get the coronavirus. I have a plan in place for what’s going to happen with my daughter who lives with me, should we need to be isolated from each other.

I will deal with it then instead of worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. I say to myself, well, if it happens to me, I will worry about it then I will deal with it then. Worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet is really a waste of my energy. I need that energy to go and do good things in the world, to help others, to help my daughter, to help my community and my friends. I am not going to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet.

Stop Ruminating

The third strategy is to stop ruminating. What is ruminating? Well, ruminating is when you know you think about something – you’ve got this fear, this stressor, and you think about it over and over and over again. It’s these repetitive thoughts that happen which scientists now know is the number one contributor to female depression. Why female depression? Because women do it way more than men do. And that’s the real difference. That’s why women have twice the likelihood of depression as men. It’s because we do this obsessive thinking and we think we’re solving the problem, but we’re actually not. We’re actually just thinking about it over and over.

And what is that doing? That’s putting all those stress hormones into your body again, every time you think about it. So every time you start going into that obsessive repetitive thought, just stop. Have an awareness when you go into these things and then ask yourself, what is the fear that I’m obsessing about? Because if you can’t name it, you can’t tame it.

So ask yourself, ‘what is the fear?’ What keeps coming back into my body all the time? Identify what the fear is, name it, and then solve it. Solve the problem. And if it’s something that’s out of your control, then you’ve got to let it go. Decide what is in your control and let the rest go. Stop the ruminating because that ruminating is just going to crush your wellbeing. It is not going to help you be resilient at this time. You have to make a decision to stop.

Awareness

Another strategy that I use, if I find myself fearful and ruminating about something, I first become aware of it and then train my brain to focus on something else. Have a happy and comforting thought. So instead of ruminating, become aware and then have a go-to thought.

Hopefully, these strategies were helpful on how to reduce the fear of the coronavirus.

If you are shut in; if you are feeling lonely; if you are alone at this time; I have created ‘wellbeing water-cooler chats’. They have been Monday and Thursday every week at 2:00 PM. I give one wellbeing tip for 3 minutes and then we just spend 15 minutes socializing, talking. We could ask questions, I’d put people into groups. I have a few more coming up until April 9th, and I might continue if people want me to continue. It’s just a way to get out of this lonely space at home. If you’re feeling isolated, come join us. We would love to see you! You can register here.

I’m sending you all my positive energy and I am praying for all of you to stay safe and healthy! If you have any questions for me, or if I can be of any help to you, please reach out at louisa@louisajewell.com.

Comments 2

  1. Thank for the short succinct and caring tips. I am in mental health care .And I need this pep talk as much as many one . Reminding myself to live in the “now “ and prepare for the future is good. It’s all in the practice . I am learning as I live to keep trying to train my brain ! Thanks again , be well
    And best wishes ,
    Lynne

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