Feelings of uncertainty.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic everyone’s normal routines and lives are dramatically changing. Due to social isolation many of you and your children may be finding that it is increasingly difficult to do the things that once gave us a sense of purpose and took care of our own wellbeing. These restrictions may be causing feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness. And this is all completely normal!

An interesting article by the Harvard Business Review interviewed grief expert David Kessler and suggested we look at these negative feelings regarding COVID-19 as anticipatory grief. This is the type of grief we feel when we our future remains uncertain. Kessler explains anticipatory grief by saying ‘There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.’

How can we cope?

Venn Diagram Source: https://www.psychologytools.com/articles/free-guide-to-living-with-worry-and-anxiety-amidst-global-uncertainty/

 

We are all in this together. It is now more important than ever to look after your own wellbeing. One way we can do this is by finding balance in our lives. I have been using the above venn diagram by psychologytools.com to illustrate to my clients the importance of finding the balance between three main types of activities to promote positive mental health.

• Pleasure: In these times of uncertainty sometimes we forget basic self-care and forget to do fun things we enjoy. Planning activities that you enjoy such as listening to a podcast, watching your favourite movie, playing some video games or patting your dog are essential in promoting a positive mood.

• Achievement: Another activity that promotes a positive mood is one that helps you achieve something. Try to schedule in an activity that will give you a sense that you accomplished something. This could be housework or homework. Accomplishing a new exercise routine is also something you could do and research has linked to boosting mood concentration, alertness and reducing risk of depression and anxiety.

• Connection: Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on each other’s company and being alone has been found to have significant negative impacts on our mental health. Given that we are all stuck inside our houses we may need to find more inventive ways to interact with others to avoid feelings of loneliness. This may include utilising social media and phones to stay in contact with loves ones.

What can PsychPhys® do to help?
You may be aware that over the past week or so PsychPhys® exercise physiology and psychology sessions have transitioned to go online. What this also means is at some of our locations we are also running online social groups. These groups will have the following goals:

• Providing a safe and supportive space for individuals to discuss feelings of worry regarding our changing environment.

• Provide an avenue for individuals to engage in physical activity to promote positive mental health.

• Providing opportunity to teach explicitly social skills in a naturally occurring environment.

 

Online sessions will be run over google meetings and you will receive a link to your session before, your agreed session time. Online group sessions will now also be including online party games. These online party games/ board games will be played within the group for a bit of fun. You will receive a link to these games during the course of the group session and will be able to play via your mobile devices or computers.

Be sure to get in touch if you are interested in these group sessions! Let’s get through this together!

Written by Sheyan, Provisional Psychologist, PsychPhys®

References

Berinato, S. (2020). That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief. Retrieved 25 March 2020, from https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Brännlund, A., Strandh, M., & Nilsson, K. (2017). Mental-health and educational achievement: the link between poor mental-health and upper secondary school completion and grades. Journal Of Mental Health26(4), 318-325. doi: 10.1080/09638237.2017.1294739

Conner, T., DeYoung, C., & Silvia, P. (2016). Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing. The Journal Of Positive Psychology13(2), 181-189. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1257049

Gunn, J., Goldstein, S., & Gager, C. (2018). A longitudinal examination of social connectedness and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adolescents. Child And Adolescent Mental Health23(4), 341-350. doi: 10.1111/camh.12281

Jovаnovic, V., & Jerkovic, I. (2011). School satisfaction among secondary school students: Relations with school achievement and mental health indicators. Psihologija44(3), 211-224. doi: 10.2298/psi1103211j

Kim, Y., Park, Y., Allegrante, J., Marks, R., Ok, H., Ok Cho, K., & Garber, C. (2012). Relationship between physical activity and general mental health. Preventive Medicine55(5), 458-463. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.08.021

Mazyarkin, Z., Peleg, T., Golani, I., Sharony, L., Kremer, I., & Shamir, A. (2019). Health benefits of a physical exercise program for inpatients with mental health; a pilot study. Journal Of Psychiatric Research113, 10-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.03.002

Rohde, N., D’Ambrosio, C., Tang, K., & Rao, P. (2015). Estimating the Mental Health Effects of Social Isolation. Applied Research In Quality Of Life11(3), 853-869. doi: 10.1007/s11482-015-9401-3

Whalley, M., & Kaur, H. (2020). Living with your anxiety and worry amidst global worry [Ebook]. Psychology Tools Limited. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytools.com/articles/free-guide-to-living-with-worry-and-anxiety-amidst-global-uncertainty/