3 Ways to Deal with Your Anxiety Toward the Coronavirus
Welcome to this bonus episode of TAP PODCAST. I felt like it was both important and convicting to carve out some extra time and talk about our current crisis that is the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19. I know you’re being hammered with negativity from the media, government and your social circles. I know many of you are afraid or have friends and family who are afraid. I would venture to say that we’ve just added a tremendous amount of new people who deal with anxiety, possibly for the first time in their lives. While these are unprecedented times, this doesn’t mean fear has to control you. Don’t be like everyone else. Be the climate changers. Be the people who push through and lead the charge.
“Fear has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” — Zig Ziglar
I love that. “Face everything and rise.” So that's what this bonus episode is all about. I'm going to share three ways I believe we can deal with our anxiety toward the coronavirus. Now's not the time to forget everything and run, so let’s get tryin.
Things feel like an episode of The Walking Dead, don’t they? Stores are limiting their hours, shelves are left empty, there's no toilet paper anywhere to be found. It's insane. My wife went out last night to pick up a few essential things from the store and sure enough I started getting picture texts from her of empty shelves. What is it about this crisis that leaves us losing our minds? Please understand, I'm not saying that we shouldn't be prepared or even cautious, but our fear has spread a lot faster than this virus. To bring back that Zig Ziglar quote I mentioned earlier, we've forgotten everything and ran. Instead of running, why don't we push through and be better because of it? Here's the first of the three ways I believe we can deal with our anxiety toward the Coronavirus.
Understand but Don’t Obsess Over the Coronavirus
The internet is a great tool, but it can also be a cavern of tunnels where we lose our way and lose our minds. From news websites, social media posts to webMD, it's important that we're as informed as possible, but not so much that it causes us to obsess. I'm a researcher. It's something that I do for about anything and everything, but that can also hinder my decision making. Everyone has an opinion about something and if you let that influence you, you'll never be able to know what's truth and what's not. So I think we need to understand the Coronavirus, but not obsess over it. I recommend the first place you start in understanding COVID-19 is the CDC website. Trust their knowledge. Trust that they are working to keep you informed. Be careful with other sources of information. You don't need Mary Anne telling you the latest conspiracy theory on Facebook. That's not going to help you. Just because your drink of water went down the wrong pipe and made you cough doesn't mean you need to head over to webMD to see if you have the virus. Understand; don't obsess.
Choose Love Not Selfishness
When fear is the navigator, our primal instinct is survival. We'll beat someone down if it means we stay alive. I'm not saying we don't protect ourselves, but could you imagine how differently we'd treat each other if we chose love not selfishness? I read an article a few days ago about two different retail stores that experienced customers brawling over toilet paper. Toilet paper, people!!! The problem here isn't the Coronavirus. It's that fear is ruling over us.
Fear will always tell you to be selfish. Love will always tell you to be selfless.
Choose love not selfishness.
Look at this as an opportunity
I love this quote I found by John F. Kennedy. It's so timely for where we're at today. It says:
“When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.“ - John F. Kennedy
Looking at our current crisis as an opportunity can help us grow and help us move forward.
Our church made the call to not hold an in-person worship service over this past weekend. I know many churches did the same. We provided an online church service that allowed our people to gather from their homes with their families. As I participated in this with my family, I couldn't help but think about how God might be giving us forced rest.
Don't you feel like life is constantly on the go? Time moves so fast and there's always some place to be and something to do. What if we looked at this social distancing as an opportunity to slow down and rest. We all could use more time with our families. We could all use more opportunities for personal health. I will admit that we have to be cautious with this and ask the question of what are we consuming and is our rest quality rest? While there's nothing morally wrong with binge-watching on Netflix, you must ask yourself the question: does this really help to bring peace to my life? Don't forget that you have a family either right beside of you or in another home. Check on them, talk to them, play games with them. This is an opportunity for rest.
Help someone who’s anxious
As I mentioned at the top of this episode, there are people who've never dealt with anxiety who are probably experiencing it now for the first time in their lives. This time we're in is an opportunity for us to help others who are struggling with anxiety. I promise that one of the most therapeutic things we can do is stop thinking about ourselves and love on others. I know that each of you listening have someone in your life who deals with this same struggle. Check on them today. Don't feel like you have to solve their anxiety problem; just be a listening ear.
We have a beautiful opportunity here, let's use it for good.
Real quick, I'd like for us to recap these three ways we can deal with our anxiety toward the coronavirus. First, understand it, but don't obsess over it. Get the information you need to be informed, but don't go down a rabbit hole that feeds your fears. Secondly, choose love not selfishness. Go hand out a couple of rolls of toilet paper at your local grocery store. I bet people would freaking love you then. Remember fear will always tell you to be selfish, but love will always tell you to be selfless. And finally, look at this crisis as an opportunity. We are now being given the chance to rest. While it may be forced rest, it's still good. Look for people who are struggling with what's going on in the world and love on them. Encourage them. Show them how you walk through your anxiety. Let them know they aren't alone.
I hope that you found this bonus episode to be both helpful and practical. Our opportunity to love isn't over until our final breath. If you're new to the podcast and you want to dive in deeper to this topic of anxiety then please hit the subscribe button and jump back to some over our previous episodes.
As always remember that you aren't alone. It's going to be okay. So...Let's get tryin.