This week we are focusing on the emotional/mental health side of illness and injury. There are lots of sources of information about how to stop the spread of physical disease, therefore our approach is really to focus on what we can do for emotional well-being during these times. Whenever a new, unknown disease threatens the health of a large amount of people there is a sense of almost global anxiety. While the concerns are valid, too much stress can actually make us more susceptible to illness of all kinds. These times are when we need to organize our thoughts around problem-based and emotion-based coping skills.
People in recovery groups like AA have spread the wisdom for years:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
In this same line of thinking we can consider what problem-based skills we can employ. When threatened with illness, what steps are within your control? What amount of knowledge, thinking and research is is helpful, and when does it become an unhelpful stressor? In other words, take action where you can and then move on to emotion-based coping skills where you can’t act.
This is a great activity to do with your child. You can even make a list of what issues require a problem-based solution, and what issues require an emotion-based solution.
Check out our COPING page for some ideas. We post a new idea every Saturday.
For more tips related to “Pandemic Panic”, check out this NPR article.