It was around this time last year that things started to change for us. After initial inertia amid the pandemic, many gradually adjusted, resolved to persist, and saw through increasingly stressful income throughout the year. Even so, to say that we have become used to restrictions, anxiety, masks, lack of school, virtual meetings, cars and outings reeking of disinfectants, will be far from the truth.
2020 ended with a high vaccination score on the horizon and desperate hope that a truly difficult year will finally come to an end.
While it is a broad generalization, psychologists were primarily approached by clinical or diagnosable concerns, strong or repeated subsequent referrals by psychiatrists, school or university principals, physicians, or brought in by well-meaning family or friends. However, in the past year, people began receiving therapy for various reasons other than disease management. In addition to coping with the global threat of a life-threatening disease, we fight multiple daily irritants that push people to ask about coping tools and strategies. From “presenting problems” that are usually anxiety, psychosis, depression, I began to see the loss of a job, the loss of a family member, a child addicted to games, couple conflicts, lack of socialization and stress due to homeschooling as common reasons people contact me.
I give credit to so many people for rising to the challenge of both applicants and providers of crisis management and support. After trudging four hundred-odd days, stressors and triggers haven’t abated. Our physical and emotional muscles ache with fatigue, giving way to doubt, fear, and hopelessness.
How do we go through such a time in life?
At this point, it is important that we understand the connection between mind and body and the role of stress in our acceptance and adaptation to the “new normal.”
The body-mind relationship suggests that the causes, progression, and consequences of a physical illness are significantly affected by the interaction of psychological and social factors. Research also shows that biological factors, neurotransmitters, hormones, and other brain processes affect emotions and coping.
Emotional health can be affected not only by “difficult life events” such as divorce, layoff, or the death of a loved one, but even by “good life events,” such as a promotion, marriage, or the birth of a loved one. baby. So-called “routine” events such as planning a daily meal, fighting rush hour traffic, meeting a deadline, unrealistic personal expectations, and interpersonal relationships can also trigger stress.
Our body responds to this stress in a number of ways. Inflammation, pain, high blood pressure, skin rashes, ulcers, indigestion, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and sleep disorders are some of the manifestations.
One way or another, mind-body interdependence proves one thing for sure. Stress doesn’t help. Stress can cause illness, lower immunity, and lower quality of life. This implies that we first have to find a way to perceive things in a non-stressful way and put the brain and body into flight, fight or freeze mode. Second, if a situation causes stress, how do we cope with and reduce the impact of the body’s reaction to stress on our minds and emotions?
I have four rules that we must follow and stay on the field.
1. Stay relaxed
If there was one thing I could include in school and university curricula today, it would be teaching children to relax. We often hear and preach the word “relax,” “relax,” and “calm down,” but how many of us really know how to do it? From breathing techniques to specific sensory stimuli, guided meditation, yoga or yoga nidra, invest in exploring and practicing different relaxation techniques.
2. Stay focused
“Nothing is as tiring as the eternal clinging to an incomplete task.” – William James
Setting specific goals, breaking them down into steps, and establishing a comfortable pace to make small daily contributions toward them helps you stay focused. Use of multisensory information for reminders of our goals, such as visual posters, post-its, auditory reminders and even contextual or situational reminders, such as “every time I sit in the car” or “every time I have a cup of coffee in my hand, ”can help with regular goal reviews and note progress and accomplishments.
3. Stay optimistic
Believing that this moment is the best now keeps me moving forward. Our motivated attention, an attitude of hope, and our belief systems need to sing to us that today is as good as it can be and that tomorrow will be better.
One study showed that perceived stress (correlated with pessimistic perceptions) and fatigue are related constructs. There is a remarkable association between fatigue and stress. The highest relationship could be found between fatigue, tension, and lack of joy or pessimism.
One thought that helps optimism is to think ahead. By accepting the past that was difficult, knowing that there is no going back, and the present that is a challenge that leads us to learn, you can only move forward. If we enter tomorrow wiser, there is a chance that it will be brighter.
4. Stay determined
Determination helps us persevere in the face of challenges. Determination is the ability to stand up, present ourselves, model what we have and do despite difficulties, what we can do so that “today” counts, so that “now” matters and slowly move towards our goals.
“Obstacles are those hideous things you see when you take your eyes off your target.” – Henry Ford
We have all experienced and continue to live with the obstacles and consequences of a pandemic. This is not a trivial experience. However, a determined attitude toward overcoming and overcoming these times will restore, nourish, and rejuvenate many of our tired muscles.
Last year will not change. It taught us, it changed us and it will always be seen as a fundamental year in our lives. Accept that we may never be who we were again, that the world has changed, and that we must stop wanting things to be like yesterday. Looking back over our shoulders to appreciate what it was will prevent us from moving forward.