The past two weeks have been weird. Here in Philadelphia, we have been ordered to stay at home, except for essential personal activities. Schools are closed, many people are working from home, and it’s difficult to find a roll of toilet paper at the store. On Sunday, I set my alarm for 6am so that I could get to the supermarket as early as possible to avoid the crowds and hopefully find what I needed to buy. This new normal takes some getting used to.
How are you doing? Are you feeling anxious? Restless? Lonely? Many of us are. We are inundated with information about the Coronavirus, the casualties, and what to do to stay safe. I turned on the Food Network the other day to escape all of the media about COVID-19 but was still reminded of it when an ad on the bottom of the screen was asking for donations to help those struggling with hunger during this pandemic.
In addition to the grim stories about the Coronavirus, there are also many helpful articles about how to cope. Most focus on ways to decrease anxiety and stay connected to others. What I haven’t seen many address is anger. Are you feeling angry? Some of us feel angry about how others are behaving, thinking they are overreacting or underreacting. Others feel angry that we have to practice social distancing because of how it affects our everyday lives. And others feel angry about how those in charge have handled the pandemic overall. This anger might show up with the people you live with, in your social media posts or just as general irritability.
It makes sense to feel angry during such uncertain times. Fear, lack of control and other emotions can trigger feelings of anger. So how do we cope with anger? The suggestions for coping with anger are similar to those offered to help with anxiety and loneliness but are worth repeating.
- Talk about how you’re feeling with friends, family, and your therapist. Not only does talking help us to let out our anger in a constructive way, instead of the risk of exploding if we hold it in; it also helps us connect with others.
- Identify what is in your control and how you can help. When we feel like so much is out of our control, channeling our anger into taking steps toward a solution helps us feel a sense of control.
- When we feel angry or scared, our bodies go into the fight or flight mode, releasing high levels of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol into our bloodstreams. Moving your body and exercising helps to release these hormones, helping to release the tension you are feeling.
- Find ways to get outside and be in nature. Although breathing, practicing mindfulness, and meditating are helpful wherever you are, being in nature adds to the benefits of these practices.
- Identify what you’re grateful for. Gratitude positively changes our brain chemistry, helping us to feel more positive and calm.
- Remember that this is temporary. We can sit with the discomfort of the changes and make it through.
- Practice compassion and self-compassion. These are trying times and we are doing the best we can.
I hope you and your family are well. Serenity Solutions is here to help support you. Let us know how we can help. Click here to learn more about how we are continuing to provide therapy for anxiety and stress management and anger management.