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Every day we learn more about this virus and its effects and we wonder when it will end. When will life get back to normal, back to our regular routine? This is new territory for all of us to navigate. Imagine trying to drive cross-country with no GPS and no map. You’ll eventually get there – but which route do you take? How long will it take? What do you need to bring with you on this journey? This can be very anxiety provoking and it is how many of us feel as we deal with COVID-19. The uncertainty will eventually end, but until then, we must learn how to navigate this journey and the stress that it generates.

Anxiety is often defined as the fear of the unknown. This feeling of uncertainty and lack of control over our environment can put us on edge, impact our moods, affect our relationships, and cloud our thinking. The world we thought we knew has changed dramatically. Many of us are out of work, quarantined, dealing with kids who are out of school, lacking in supplies, unable to see friends and family, and more. It can be overwhelming!

How do we deal with this disruption to our lives? First and foremost, take one day at a time. Focus on your daily activities by scheduling things that you can do so that you feel productive. Do some spring cleaning, eliminate clutter, pack up items that you can donate to those less fortunate. Spend some quality time with your kids and/or other members of your household listening to music, reading together, watching a funny movie or deciding what you’ll plant in your garden come spring! There are many websites out there that you can explore with your family including Virtual School Activities where you can tour the Anne Frank House, view the giraffe cam at the San Diego Zoo or see the Great Wall of China. See our resource page for more activities to enjoy from home.

If you are alone, reach out to friends and family by phone or via Skype, Facetime or Zoom. Limit your check-ins for news updates to once a day. And everyone needs to practice good self-care, limit caffeine and sugar intake, get adequate rest and exercise. Learn some breathing exercises or yoga and practice the calming influence of meditation and mindfulness. See our recent blog post on mindfulness and meditation for tips and resources.

If you feel you are in need of one-on-one counseling, contact Jewish Family & Children’s Services to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced clinicians who can personally help you to deal with the distress caused by COVID-19. Call us at 609-987-8100 Ext 102.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

Linda Kanner, LCSW