Updated on 04/06/2020, 2:49 PM EST
The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives. With the stay-at-home orders and the social distancing measures, we can be unsure when we’ll be able to once again enjoy dinner at our favorite restaurant, go to a movie or return to the office.
The past month has been a challenging time for AmeriLife associates who are dealing with the anxiety that comes from the news and the stress of dealing with the disruptions of daily life.
In an online article for NBC News, Robin Stern, a psychologist and associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, explained we can no longer fall back on the usual routines that help us cope, such as working out at the gym or meeting friends for coffee.
Add to this anxiety is the stress associated with the uncertainty of the virus. This stress can lead to fear.
According to Neda Gould, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the stakes feel higher because of the uncertainty. And the higher the stakes, the greater the fear.
Healthy Coping Strategies
Health care professionals offer a variety of coping strategies to help you manage the stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic.
- Start with you: Self-care is vitally important during stressful times. Get enough sleep, eat well and engage in some sort of movement each day.
- Don’t judge your anxieties – or those of the people around you: Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious or upset. At the same time, don’t judge others for their reactions. Everyone will be feeling disappointed over missing graduations, weddings and other events. Those feelings are real, and we need to give ourselves (and others) permission to feel those feelings.
- Stay connected – virtually: Even though we can’t be together in person, it’s important to connect through social media, phone calls and video conferencing.
- Try practicing radical acceptance: Try to get comfortable with the idea that there are many things you can no longer control. This includes many things you normally could control, but can’t during the pandemic. Concentrate on little things you can control, such as cooking a meal, calling a friend and starting your day with a workout.
- Focus on the facts: Keep you focus on the facts at hand, such as polices being implemented or updated guidelines you should follow. Try to avoid thinking about the “what ifs.”
- Avoid information overload: Don’t spend the entire day thinking about the pandemic. Find a few trusted outlets for information. Then set a time to tune in and check them for details. Constant news consumptions can fuel anxiety.
- Have fun: Find joy in small situations, such as getting to spend more time with loved ones, cooking, engaging in a hobby or watching funny movies.
- Be grateful for what you have: Spend time thinking about the things you are grateful for and express your gratitude to others.
A Coping Resource for AmeriLife Employees
AmeriLife offers all employees and their families access to EmployeeConnect,* the company’s employee assistance program.
EmployeeConnect is available 24/7 and provides real-life support with helpful resources and confidential counseling. With EmployeeConnect, employees can receive confidential assistance to help manage life’s challenges, including the challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
To log into EmployeeConnect:
User name: LFGsupport
Call EmployeeConnect at 888-628-4824
*EmployeeConnect is available to ALL AmeriLife employees, working 30 or more hours a week, and their dependents, whether or not they’re enrolled in the company health plan.
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