6 things you can do to help recover from the trauma of the coronavirus

Some months ago, we shared some tips on dealing with the tribulations of the ongoing coronavirus phenomenon. At that time we were in the midst of not only the potential dangers of the pandemic itself, but also the stresses of multiple uncertainties – not only the possible sequelae of the disease itself, but also myriad emotional, professional, family, self-esteem, and indirect physical health issues.

Fast-forwarding to the present time, we are now cautiously entertaining the idea that a vaccine and other effective countermeasures may be near, and that some semblance of normal life may be just around the corner. Such developments lead invariably to a more positive outlook on the future, and a willingness to leave behind the coping mechanisms we had previously put into place to deal with the anxieties of the ordeal. So, with the worst of the pressure seemingly being taken off us in the near future, we can now get on with the task of rebuilding ourselves, and (as with the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic) get on with life.

But, is “getting on with it” really that easy for all of us? Can we just forget what has happened and pretend that the coronavirus and its consequences never existed? Even for the strong-willed amongst us, this is unlikely, at least to some degree. So, what can we do to just “get on with it” in an upcoming “post-virus” world?

The Winchester Hospital (WH) in Boston, Massachusetts likens recovery from the coronavirus to the way one would recover from any other form of post-traumatic stress and suggests that there are indeed things we can do to help us with our post-virus recovery. Let’s take a look at six of their ideas for dealing with this particular form of recovery:

1. Take care of your body.

In all probability, the events of the past year (or lack thereof) have taken a toll on our bodies. Health and fitness centers were restricted, and many of us were told (or chose) to sequester ourselves in our homes and to limit our outside exposure. Accompanying these restrictions were temptations to overeat or drink and to generally fall victim to the negatives associated with a more sedentary life. So, what do we do now? As restrictions are lifted, we can once again take to the outdoors, work on a healthier diet regimen, and begin or return to a purposeful fitness program. Not only will we be and feel better physically, this enhanced sense of bodily well-being will lead to a more positive mental and emotional outlook on life.   

2. Reduce exposure to the event.

Let’s face it, you’ve been hearing about the virus, day in and day out, for most of the past year. This constant attention given to the negatives (including confusion) of the issue has taken its toll and possibly contributed to a more downcast attitude than usual. WH suggests limiting your exposure to the news, giving attention only to the latest advisories and restriction updates. Although it is impossible (and ill-advised) to shut out negative reports entirely, make a decision to switch off when you’ve had enough news.

3. Talk.

We’re all educated enough to know that bottling things up inside is not conducive to a good attitude and outlook on life. If you have concerns and internal stress, talk it over with friends and trusted others. Getting your thoughts out into the open can act as a pressure release valve, and help you reach a more positive internal equilibrium.

4. Stay connected and get back into your routine.

During the crisis, many of us lost (or reduced) contact with friends, relatives, and significant others, and possibly even the hobbies and pastimes we used to enjoy. Yes, Netflix was a solid help in the beginning, but even the choice of hundreds of films begins to lose its charm after a time. A good tactic would be to rebuild our former social and entertainment routines, at least as best we can under the near-term circumstances. Even just sketching out our eventual “back to normal” plans can lead to a more positive attitude. 

5. Do something fun.

Above and beyond getting back into your routine, another helpful approach could be to think of something new or challenging to try out. Have you been thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle, or taking up a new sport such as golf? Now might be the time to give your fantasy a go. It could be stimulating, and certainly will not hurt!

6. Do something relaxing.

Routine and fun are two tactics to help you return to normal. However, relaxing may be another thing entirely. Have you ever thought of giving yoga or meditation a try? Even listening to calming music or taking a warm bath could be relaxing. What we consider to be relaxing differs from person to person, so your imagination is the limit. Anything that can get us away from the stress of the situation can be of help.

These six tips offered by Winchester Hospital are just a few of the things that we can do to help us ease back into a normal routine, and leave behind the worst aspects of the coronavirus experience. I think we can all agree that a healthy body and a healthy mind lead to a better quality of life and greater contentment, as well as easing some of the stresses brought on by the events of the past year.

 

 

 

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