We can’t deny the unprecedented impact the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has had on the world and on our daily lives. We’re constantly bombarded with information on the ramifications of this pandemic. We don’t even have to turn on the news. It’s enough to take a look around us.
Our offices have shut down, so many of us are working from home. Because of school closures, our kids need additional supervision. We have to wait in line to go into grocery stores with empty shelves. We talk to our friends and co-workers through online platforms. Our hands are chapped from so much soap and sanitiser, and we always make sure we don’t go anywhere without a face mask.
Our lives have changed so much that it feels surreal. When you put all these things together, it’s not surprising that the current situation is affecting our mental health. In this article, we will discuss how face-to-face or online therapy can help you cope.
Get things off your chest
With everything that’s going on, it’s normal to feel a certain amount of anxiety. Uncertainty triggers stress. We need to allow ourselves to feel these feelings. Some anxiety can be beneficial. It motivates us to wash our hands and try to protect ourselves and our loved ones. But when anxiety exceeds our coping skills, we may start to ruminate. Our mind goes in a million directions. We catastrophize, and each scenario is more frightening than the other. We enter a vicious circle where we try to process our fears on our own so we can have some peace, but we end up intensifying them.
Under different circumstances, we could go out, talk to family members or friends. Now we’re more limited in our options. The people we know are struggling as well. They may not know what to say to calm our worries and help us stay grounded.
Now, more than ever, we need access to mental health services. Because of government restrictions, online therapy has become the preferred route for many. It may feel strange to talk to a therapist online, but the research we have so far indicates that it’s just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. Your therapist will also help you adjust to this format. What matters most is that you don’t hold back. You allow yourself to get things off your chest so you can make the most out of your therapy session.
Therapy is also a good way to get some human interaction while we’re struggling with social distancing measures. We’re social beings and staying connected boosts our mood and our overall well-being. Studies show that stress responses are stronger among individuals who feel like they lack adequate social support.
Social distancing measures, although very useful in slowing down the spread of COVID-19, can cause significant disruptions in our lives and it’s not easy to adapt. Social isolation alone tends to have adverse psychological effects. When we combine this with anxiety and drastic changes, it can become overwhelming.
Although we strongly encourage you to maintain and build your social support network through virtual platforms if face-to-face interactions are not possible, you may find it difficult to open up and talk freely. Maybe you don’t want to upset anybody, or you’re used to being the one that others rely on for help. A therapist will always have your best interest at heart, and they’re trained to provide support.