Currently, our world is facing two pandemics. The first is a health pandemic. COVID-19 is sweeping across countries and leaving a tragic trail of sickness and fatalities. Even for those who don’t know anyone who has caught the virus, this pandemic is greatly impacting their lives. This virus has changed everything about our day-to-day as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus. These drastic, but necessary, measures are helping slow the health pandemic, but unfortunately are also causing a second one.
The COVID-19 outbreak is not just impacting people’s physical health, but their emotional health also. It not only causes fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, but it can trigger anxiety, fear, helplessness, and deep sadness. Where many are directly impacted by the health pandemic, everyone is impacted by this emotional pandemic.
The constant communication about COVID-19’s impact on the news and our social media is causing anxiety and fear. Social distancing and shelter-at-home laws are causing loneliness. And the indefinite timestamp on this new normal is leaving many feeling overwhelmed and depressed. From parents who are balancing working from home and homeschooling their kids to employees who have been let go, everyone is feeling this emotional pressure.
Unlike the virus, the existence of emotions isn’t bad. The problem is not that we have moments of anxiety and fear. The problem is when we don’t respond well and the emotions become uncomfortable. It’s when we no longer are in control of our emotions, but they are in control of us.
Much like the virus has the potential to overwhelm our hospital’s capacity if we don’t take steps to flatten the curve, our emotions can overwhelm us if we don’t flatten the emotional curve caused by irrational beliefs. Taking a similar approach to the health pandemic, we must take proactive healthy steps and we must catch the problem early.(more…)