3 Ways to Help Manage Your Stress During COVID -19, Social Unrest and Political Tension

Inspired by the story of people who could not be stopped

I get a front-row seat to people’s lives. And because I do the kind of therapy where we focus on what’s happening here and now, I see most people are feeling like they exist in a 3-ring circus and don’t know where to turn, what to think, how to act, or how to get it right, darn it! These turbulent times have led people to connect to the deepest parts of themselves, and sometimes, that can be painful.

Wait a minute. You might be asking, “Why would connecting to our deepest selves be painful? Aren’t we supposed to love ourselves? This is what leads to books flying off the stands, why therapists are full, why coaches are in demand, and why we are oversaturated with tips, tricks, and hacks to #liveyourbestlife #beawesome!” Yes, absolutely! And there will be times when you connect with yourself and experience absolute peace and joy. 

Challenges Highlighted by Lockdowns, Fear and Unrest

Unfortunately, the chaos of 2020 including lockdowns, fear, and unrest has depleted most people of their emotional reserves. We have spent months trying to cope with this new reality.  These long months have revealed several uncomfortable realities:

  • Isolation can be painful. We live with ourselves 24/7 and know everything we’ve thought, said, and done – the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful. 
  • Our minds can play tricks on us. We are wired with an amygdala, designed to help us stay in the tribe and stay alive. But sometimes, our minds can quickly become a forest full of monkeys telling us that we are unloveable, wrong, and alone. 
  • We can hurt each other. We have always lived around other humans struggling with their own pain which sometimes, may leak onto us. When others hurt you with their words or actions, that can be evidence for your mind that you’re not getting it right. Because your brain is hard-wired for survival, you may think you better walk that line real tight to keep it all together, to make sure that you’re accepted.

Don’t let your mind gaslight you! I believe from the very depths of my being that you ARE awesome! Here are a few ways to help you feel that way, too.

The Greatest Showman Movie Image

3 Ways to Manage Stress During This Time

1) Stop avoiding pain

Whether you are dealing with self-inflicted pain or pain caused by others, don’t avoid it. You are human. You were never meant to feel good 100% of the time or be perfect.  That would be nice, but it’s just not realistic.  In fact, when you avoid pain, you create a series of coping mechanisms that lead to even more pain. What’s worse is that you’re probably dragging other people down with you, perpetuating the cycle of pain. So, respect yourself, respect them, and deal with your stuff. Come out from “behind the stand.”  Don’t wait until you’re ready or perfect because you may never feel ready and perfection is not attainable.  Putting yourself out there is what will allow you to belt out, as in The Greatest Showman, “I am brave, I bruised, I am who I’m meant to be. This is me!”

2) Lean on community

Because we live with ourselves 24/7, it helps to be around people who are happy to have you in their lives!  Only through connection with others can we live as authentic people.  I see people struggling to find healthy, meaningful relationships right now.  We used to be fueled by social climbing, gatherings, and finding our worth based on how in-demand we were.  Now that it’s you and a phone or screen, you need to find a healthy and safe way to connect with others.  Just as you are.  See point #1.  We all have to work through a bruise or two.  When you’re scared, come out, stop hiding, find someone to hold onto, and share how you feel; you will be ok.  Let’s help each other be brave.  Let’s help each other acknowledge, “I’m worthy of your love. There’s nothing I’m not worthy of.”  (Again, credit to The Greatest Showman.)

3) Mind your own business

Now, I know that sounds like it conflicts with #2, but you know what I mean.  Love others, but please do not judge and project your opinions onto them. Don’t demand agreement in exchange for relationship. Can you imagine a world filled with love and kindness in which we accept the reality that each of us is a unique person with our own story?  You have no idea where someone is on their journey, let alone if that person is having a good or bad day. So please, don’t judge, give others the benefit of the doubt, and focus on yourself.  Once you’ve received what you need, you can fill the world with your own acceptance, peace, and love.  Again, see point #1.  No one is going to think, make choices, or act like you.  So, embrace the true diversity and messiness of human beings.  Smile, say hello, and be kind whether or not you’re going to get it in return.  It really is a small world after all.  And “WE ARE GLORIOUS!”  (Third shout out to The Greatest Showman cast!)

Sounds great, right?  How can you start?

We believe in you and are here for you. At Help for Wellness, we believe in the power of each individual taking responsibility for life and letting the benefits ripple out from there. Be the good!

We are especially good at helping people learn how to respond to and work with their anxious brains, allowing all the good you want to become reality!

Contact us today!

Help for Wellness (HFW) provides therapy to individuals, couples, families and groups to help them unlock their potential to live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives. Learn more about the specific services we offer and contact us to schedule your free 20-minute consultation today!

For the musical number that inspired this post and continues to inspire me, see “This Is Me,” by The Greatest Showman cast.

Lisa Murphy
Lisa Murphy (#25280), a licensed Clinical Social Worker, works with individuals struggling to manifest healthy behaviors personally and/or within relationships. She is passionate about helping clients identify and break free of unhealthy patterns to establish healthier behaviors and relationships.