Rx for Self-Care: Five Ways to Cope With Fear of the Unknown

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People struggling to cope with fear, anxiety and stress due to the coronavirus need to take time to for “emotional nourishment” to make sure they are able to function well for themselves and their loved ones.

Self-care refers to how one actively protects and improves one’s overall health and wellness, focusing on the mind, body and spirit. Self-care is acutely important. Nurturing our heart, mind, body and spirit is critical to our longevity. Without our health, we have nothing.

Here are some self-care tips to help you get through difficult times:

• Feed yourself with calming thoughts and words — Positive self-talk is a superb source of motivation and sustenance. Use short, pithy phrases or power-packed, inspirational words to shift your mood. Create personal mantras that mean something to you. Also, do not repeat negative beliefs about yourself. Stay away from using the words “never” or “always.” Do not “negative futurize,” believing something bad is going to happen instead of something good is going to happen. Be aware of negative thoughts that are triggered within you and reframe them into positive ones.

• Breathe deeply and exercise your lungs to release fear — Inhale slowly through your nose with your shoulders relaxed, expanding your abdomen (put your hand on your belly to make sure it’s your abdomen rising and falling and not your chest). Exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your jaw relaxed. Repeat for several minutes. If you are distraught for any reason, focusing on your breathing will help you calm down (it can even prevent panic attacks!).

• Check in with yourself — If you establish a habit of checking in with yourself daily, you are far less likely to succumb to negative messages and attitudes that attack your self-worth like a virus. Neglecting to do this is like waiting until you collapse on your feet to take your temperature. Taking your temperature, or checking in with yourself, is a way to regulate your thoughts and behavior. By checking in with yourself, you can self-regulate your temperament throughout the day to remain calm and maintain your cool.

• Reset your mood — Our society has trained us to feel fear when we are unfamiliar with something, when we are in an adverse situation, or when we are facing a problem. Yet, when we fear something, we are channeling our energy toward that fear, and in our attempt to fight the fear, we pour more energy and focus into the fear itself. Our best option is to keep making the choices that will help us feel connected to our inner source of peace — our Soul Self.

• Experiment to find the self-care techniques that work best for you. Practicing them can help you develop the self-worth and inner strength you need to face difficult circumstances and fear of the unknown. The actions we choose to nurture and strengthen our well-being differ from person to person, since each of us is unique. It is important to find activities that you love and find meaningful so that you will continue to participate.

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