Ask Kari: How to Cope with Coronavirus Isolation?

By March 23, 2020Connections
Coping with coronavirus anxiety

Kari O’Neill is an Issaquah Highlands resident, a licensed independent clinical social worker, and long-time volunteer writer of our popular Ask Kari column in Connections. As we practice social distancing, we reached out to Kari for advice on how to cope with feelings of isolation and anxiety during this challenging time.

Coronavirus Coping ActivitiesHere is what I would say to our neighbors at this time of high levels of anxiety and stress:

  • We will get through this. Human beings are much stronger, kinder, and more resourceful than we realize in the moment.
  • Choose one resource for information, such as the CDC, to help streamline all the information that is coming at you. Choosing one source helps keep the information clear and can prevent us from feeling overwhelmed by multiple sources that may have conflicting information presented to us.
  • Limit the frequency of your news/social media updates to a few times a day versus every hour, all day long. Staying online all day will most likely lead to cycling thoughts of anxiety and fear in us.
  • Remember that having some anxious thoughts on a daily basis is normal, especially now as we have a lot of information coming at us. Accept that anxious thoughts will pop up and we just need to use some corrective thinking to help stabilize ourselves. Here is an example. Your first thought is “I am afraid that if I get sick, I will die.” The second, corrective thought could be: “I am surrounded by outstanding healthcare resources that I can access if I need care.”
  • Build out your coping mechanisms – activities or things that offer comfort to you. Anything that typically brings you joy or comfort, access that activity and repeat over and over at this time for stabilization and comfort.

Find more advice from Ask Kari in past issues of Connections >>