Coping Strategies,  Infectious Disease

Disengaging with COVID-19

All of 24, she landed her dream job as a journalist. Constant excitement and being afloat on the happenings of the country motivated her and helped her stay focused.
Today, she reports from her home on the happenings of the country. Constantly consuming stories of the pandemic and how people are suffering with it and because of it. Her day has her oscillating between consuming stories of domestic violence and the migrant workers plight. As her therapist it would be ill advised to suggest switching off from news or limiting the consumption of news, this is after all her means of survival which is crucial especially as most organisations are now either laying people off or cutting their salaries.

In therapy we worked on disengaging coping strategies something that has proven useful at times like this, especially for those struggling with anxiety.

Disengagement coping is not distraction! It is acknowledging the emotion and choosing to actively engage your mind with an activity. Distraction is dismissing the emotion and either passively or actively consuming information or engaging in activity.

Here are a few disengaging steps that she tried, and have proven to be effected

#1 Check yourself
Acknowledge the emotion you are feeling, dismissing is not helpful on the contrary it adds to the irritation, anger, and anxiousness. This can further trigger difficulty concentration, focus, and physical symptoms like palpitations, and diarrhoea.

#2 List your strategies
Identify things you have used in the past that have been effective in emotional regulation a few suggestions are journaling, engaging in physical activity (dancing – no one can ever cry or be angry while dancing), use an affirmation, use or use a guided meditation track.

#3 Choose your strategy
From the list you have curated pick one activity and with full intention decide to engage with that activity for at least 20 minutes

#4 Do it!
Now engage your mind and body in the chosen activity, and if your mind wanders to a negative unhelpful space bring yourself back to present activity and start again.

We are all carrying a lot of fear, anger and anxiety with us; some of our jobs require us to constantly engage with negativity but it is important for us to disengage, ground ourselves and show up everyday (or on the days we can!) remembering why we chose our professions and how much we love it!

Meet the author
Priyanka Varma Clinical Psychologist
She believes emotional and mental health care are at the very core of us experiencing happiness in our life. Her qualifications include a Masters in Clinical Psychology and in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Priyanka enjoys working with young adults and understanding life as it changes with intrusions like the internet and the pandemic. Above everything else her true love is homemade chocolate cake.

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