How to Cope with Coronavirus Isolation

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 physical distancing, we reached out to Kari for advice on how to cope with feelings of isolation and anxiety during this challenging time.

Here 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.

Take a bath or shower
Make your favorite meal and share it with others
Drink a cup of tea
Hug your family
Light a candle or use aromatherapy
Watch your favorite TV shows or movies
Take a walk
Dance to your favorite music
Play a board game
Call a friend and check in on them

As published in the April 2020 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.

Email your Ask Kari questions to [email protected] or use our online form. All email user personal information will remain confidential and not be published.