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IN 46260

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Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic


The March 2021 issue of the Scientific American contains an article by the contributing editor M. W. Moyer entitled Coping with pandemic stress (pp. 46-51). In the article she recognized that there are no foolproof ways of handling the COVID-19 pandemic threat to mental health. Nevertheless, she set forth some ways of coping, even though "no one knows when the pandemic will end or whether the future will look anything like the past" (p. 48).

It can be helpful to be open with ourselves and others about feelings of distress. Journaling these feelings can be both a release and a way of working them out. Contact with others in whatever ways are safe are constructive. Sometimes it is good to reach out to people with whom you would not ordinarily connect. Initiating connections with others is one way to make improvements in the quality of life. There are also other ways to control what you can, such as making budgets, schedules, and imagining potential positive outcomes.

Mindfulness, which includes meditation, can provide a way to focus on the immediate present rather than on an indeterminant future. Two guided meditation apps were recommended: Breathe 2 Relax and Mindfulness Coach. Simple approaches like focused breathing, body scans to release muscle tension, and concentration on the moment, almost any moment, will also be calming.

Seeking psychotherapy through telemedicine can provide a relationship with someone who tries to understand and give emotional support.

Not every suggestion made here will be useful to everyone. Picking and choosing, especially after having tried some of them out, can help improve personal resilience and adaptation to the difficult circumstances COVID-19 has made.

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