5 Lessons From COVID-19 Survivors

With almost 8 million recorded cases of COVID-19 globally, the pandemic has shown us how vulnerable our health systems seem to be. Countries locked down their borders and subjected communities to quarantine measures.

The health threat has caused widespread fear among different populations, resulting in anxiety and stigma against those who contracted the disease.

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In 1965, experts identified the first human coronavirus infection, which caused a common cold. According to scientists, there are seven types of coronaviruses that affect humans.

The SARS epidemic of 2003 affected 26 countries and resulted in more than 8,000 cases, with 774 deaths. The less contagious but deadlier MERS affected almost 2,500 people who lived in or traveled to the Middle East in 2012, recording 858 fatalities.

Contagious With Lifelong Impact

Likened to influenza, this viral respiratory disease causes fever, headache, cough, and shortness of breath. The majority of patients won’t need a hospital stay, but a study found that 42% of people hospitalized with coronavirus are in intensive care.

COVID-19 survivors should learn from those who overcame SARS or MERS, but medical experts and scientists have yet to determine the long-term impact of this 2019 pandemic.

“Their lives will never look exactly as they were before,” says Dr. Megan Hosey, Ph.D., a rehabilitation psychologist from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who treats patients in the intensive care unit. “Being admitted to an ICU is one of those ‘before and after’ life events, like having a child or a parent dying.”

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At least 25% of global infections are from the United States, with deaths from COVID-19 surpassing 100,000 at the beginning of June. There is a flood of new guidelines preventing its spread, but what do we know about recovering from the disease?

Coronavirus survivors have set up support groups desperate for information to understand their experiences and share stories about their health. Here are some prominent lessons they’ve shared:

  • Begin A Recovery Daily Routine

Stretching, listening to meditation apps, and taking health supplements every morning can boost recovery. Doctors reported that even patients that survived a mild condition of COVID-19 should expect a long rehabilitation time.

Survivors will not be able to return to past normal activities immediately, while some say it’ll relatively be harder to sustain given the medical history.

  • Focus On Protecting The Immune System

The goal of getting back to normal is only possible if we listen to the body. Survivors will suffer from poor physical function, cognition, and mental health while recovering and even after COVID-19.

Seeking help from wellness counselors on healthcare products, resources, and tools is one way to tell the body we take our health seriously and not for granted.

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  • Connect To Virtual Communities For Support

Support groups exist for survivors, caregivers, and those who lost loved ones to COVID-19. While there are strict physical distancing protocols in many social situations, communities have gone virtual with Instagram pages and Facebook groups, specifically for collective healing.

Living Corona Positive was started by a South African blogger whose whole family contracted the disease to share their healing stories first-hand.

  • Manage Post-Traumatic Stress

The journey from contracting the virus to diagnosis, treatment, and recovery is a lonely ordeal from the onset. Because there is no cure for COVID-19, the uncertainty of not knowing whether a recovering patient is free from the virus causes undue stress and anxiety.

Medical experts say that letting the body rest and get back lost sleep will contribute immensely to a survivor’s well-being.

  • Write A Gratitude List

The stuff we usually think about and say aloud affects our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Creating a thank-you list transforms negative to positive energy, inviting love and kindness to enter our hearts.

Survivors are at risk of having a “victim mentality,” and one way to avoid this is by expressing gratitude to other people no matter how trivial it seems.

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During these tough times, we must realize that we’re not all going through the same thing. Frontline healthcare workers have an increased risk of infection. Teachers and students have to adapt to the pandemic mode of earning an education.

The majority of us worry about not having adequate protective equipment like surgical masks and sanitizers. Fortunately, we are not coping through this alone, and we have abundant resources, if only we work together.

Tips For Fighting Coronavirus Anxiety

The threat of COVID-19 can take a massive toll on our emotional well-being. Even for those who don’t live with an anxiety disorder may find themselves worrying more than usual. Thankfully, there are ways of managing such and getting through this pandemic.

Establish A Routine

The outbreak of COVID-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down. Almost everyone across the globe is now living differently from accustomed. Because of this drastic change, many feel lost and anxious.

Something you can do to avoid excessive worrying is to establish a routine. It helps to make it similar to what you’re used to already. Although it won’t be entirely the same, you can stick to your usual meal hours and sleep schedule. Next, you can figure out how to adjust when it comes to work, school, and other activities.

Set Reasonable Goals

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Because citizens have to stay at home, some are treating this pandemic as a vacation rather than a crisis. They tend to think that because people now have more free time, they have to be productive.

However, the coronavirus outbreak is anything but ordinary. Don’t think that you have to come out of this pandemic with life-changing achievements. Everyone is collectively experiencing something traumatic to some degree. Even just making it through the day is already a significant step forward.

Instead of pressuring yourself to be extremely productive, set realistic daily goals instead. It could be something seemingly simple, like exercising, doing the laundry, or reaching out to friends. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

Limit Your Exposure To The News

One of the leading causes of anxiety during this time is fixating on the news and social media. It’s tempting to check the television every hour for updates, especially when the outbreak began. However, the barrage of worrying headlines will end up worrying you instead of providing you with information.

While it’s vital for you to stay updated, set a limit on how often you check on the news as well as social media. You can let yourself watch the news twice a day, for example. Also, remember to always stick to credible sources of information. As a guide, turn to the CDC, WHO, and your local health offices.

Follow A Proper Sleep Schedule

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Since most people don’t have school or work to worry about the following day, many are staying up late. This practice will then lead to sleeping in, completely overhauling your regular sleep schedule.

However, sleep is not only essential to your physical health, but it also has effects on your mental wellness. Sleep deprivation will make you more likely to experience anxiety as well as depression. So see to it that you get enough sleep and follow a regular schedule.

Apply Relaxation Techniques

Similar to how you would deal with stress in any situation, it helps to take a step back. Then, you can adapt techniques that can help you relax. You may choose deep breathing, with several videos available, as well as mobile apps to guide you. Likewise, yoga and meditation are popular options to help keep you calm.

If these choices aren’t your thing, even soaking in a warm tub, listening to music, or enjoying a cup of tea can help.

Help Others

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Sometimes, anxiety stems from worrying over other people. We’re concerned about how our loved ones, neighbors, and the general public is during this health crisis. Does everyone have something to eat? Does anyone need to buy medicine? Does anyone need someone to talk to and keep them company?

Even though guidelines call for physical distance, that doesn’t mean we can’t help others. If you have elderly neighbors or family, you can offer to get them groceries during your next run. You can also donate to charity organizations that might have a better capacity to provide help.

Additionally, Anna Yusim, MD, says, “Fear and anxiety are as contagious as the virus.” Thankfully, you can also spread calmness and mindfulness. Although you may experience anxiety sometimes, you can uplift others when they feel the same. Share with them the techniques you’ve learned in keeping yourself less anxious during these times.

Final Thoughts

Feeling worried during this outbreak is entirely understandable. A large portion of the population is probably experiencing the same feeling.

When it comes to managing anxiety, focus on things that you do have power over. Establish a routine with achievable daily goals. Don’t fixate on the news too much and get adequate sleep at the proper time.

Find relaxing activities that you can partake in, such as yoga or drinking some calming tea. Lastly, reach out and help others. It’s a difficult time for everyone, and being a calming influence can have a positive impact on many individuals.

How Effective Is Talk Therapy?

The 2019 therapy tools conference discusses the essentials of therapy treatments. There is an emphasis on its advantage in addressing mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, addiction, PTSD, depression, and many more. In choosing the appropriate treatment, there has been a type of therapy that pretty much seems underrated.

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Talk Therapy

In line with the misapprehension that therapy is only for crazy individuals, it is not at all the truth. Therapy, regardless of its methods, is for those people who suffer from mental and emotional issues they can no longer handle. Not because people choose the treatment that doesn’t mean they are dysfunctional. Therefore, there is entirely no reason to fear it. Sometimes, people need to do is talk about it.

Talk therapy supports long-lasting effectiveness. It does not only cater to the needs of those who are mentally unstable but also address people’s emotional issues as well. The process is more about expressing one’s thoughts and feelings without the state of getting pressured. It goes with a flow that requires no right or wrong patterns. It continues to make sense in reflective, meaningful, and advantageous self-understanding. It allows individuals to have a different perspective on life.

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The process of talk therapy does not require anything much. Just having someone who listens and understands is entirely enough. It will become a lot less complicated for individuals to build confidence and self-worth when they know someone is willing to sit with them and have a conversation. Honestly, an opinion does not even matter at all in that case. As long as there is room for realization, that will be enough.

The analogy of talking is similar to writing. The more you talk, the more understand what you are trying to say.

 

Rich and Poor: Can They Be Friends?

Different factors divide society: money, race, culture, religion, values and education despite the advent of connectivity and campaigns on acceptance of diversity. Despite the emergence of progressive thinking, numerous people will always create an affinity to something familiar and closer to their characteristics and history, and this is completely fine. It is fundamental human right. Because diversity is a part of your culture, it is wise to be critical of one’s behaviors, which may seem harmless and innocent at first glance but would turn out disrespectful to others. One good example is the importance of coming to terms with your idea of class privilege and deconstruct your expectations about friends who come from poor and work-class backgrounds concerning financial wealth.

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The Healing Power Of Art

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Art has been defined by so many people in so many different ways. Some may adapt the dictionary definition of art and state that it is a creative skill. Others may get quite emotional and devotedly express “Art is life; without it, I am nothing.”

Art Therapy And Mental Healing: The 7 Art Forms You Can Try

You might have heard of art therapy and how it’s lauded as one of the most effective tools for healing from mental disorders and emotional instability. But you might doubt if this form of therapy fits an inartistic you. Well, art therapy is more than just painting and drawing. Read on to find out more about it!

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Ways To Make Group Therapy More Fun and Effective

 

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Group therapy doesn’t have to be discussions about feelings and personal experiences. There are several ways in which you can spice up your group therapy sessions. Read on to find out different exciting ideas on how to make the group therapy more fun and productive. Psychotherapist Ali Miller, MFT said, “[T]here is encouragement to both talk about your life outside the group and also to talk about the dynamics within the group.”

 

  • Art Therapy

According to a study, art therapy was successful. This therapy has helped its participants in the areas of perception, personal integration, emotion regulation, behavior, and insight and comprehension. “Art Therapy gives voice to clients’ experience and stories, as well as provides empowerment for their lives,” says Elena Lamaak, MA, LMHC.

Holding a group art therapy is not as difficult as it might seem. You and your group may hold a painting session or a pottery class. Art has been a frequently used mode of expression for people. In art, participants can express their emotions and experiences that they couldn’t do so in words.

 

  • Culture

Centering on culture can be a great way to start your group therapy sessions. Discussing culture can promote tolerance, challenge perceptions, and learn more from each other. Interestingly, researchers found out that some cultures are more friendly to mental health and illnesses than others.

If you want to discuss different cultures in your group therapy, host an adult version of a show-and-tell. To do this, ask your participants to bring a token that represents their family culture or history. Then, have each one of the participants explain what these tokens mean. You can also give a portion of the time for the participants to ask questions to each other.

 

  • Music

Music brings everyone together, so this is a good idea to start your group therapy session. Similar to art therapy, music therapy allows people to express their thoughts and feelings that couldn’t usually be expressed in words. Moreover, it is found that music actually reduces stress. Before, it is believed that music strengthens bonds, connects people spiritually, and fosters group cohesion. “Music has such a large impact on our lives! It crosses cultures, age groups and has an effect on everyone. It can make you smile, dance, sing, cry, instantly recall memories like they were yesterday and process emotion.” As explained by Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D.

To start a music therapy, just bring a guitar and let the music do its thing. You may sing popular songs or make your own lyrics. Encourage your participants to bring an instrument of their own. Also, try to give compliments along the way. Some participants get shy because they think they’re not good at singing or playing the instruments. But, most of the time, that’s not true.

 

  • Lifeline

This is an activity from the Lesley University. Lifeline is an activity that lets participants review their life and see how far they have come. It is effortless to do and only requires a pen and a piece of paper.

To do the activity, a participant must make two points on the paper, labeled ‘birth’ and ‘now.’ They must be connected by a straight line. On that line, identify three high points and three low points of your life. Then, join these points with a zigzag line. After accomplishing this, have each of the participants explain what they drew and what it means to them.

 

  • Lawbook

This is a fun activity that allows each participant to reflect on what the right thing to do is. First, have your participants discuss Kohlberg’s six stages of morality. Then, make a book of laws regarding this discussion, including at least one page on these topics:

  • World Laws
  • School Laws
  • Society Laws
  • Romantic Relationship Laws
  • Friendship Laws
  • Self Laws
  • Family Laws

 

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There are several ways to make your group therapies more fun and effective. If you are looking for more ideas, then don’t hesitate to try one of these methods.

 

Tips On Reducing Anxiety For Young Professionals

 

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According to Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, “It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, or imminent.”  Anxiety is very evident in young professionals. These young professionals are struggling to find contentment and happiness in their work in the era of social media.

Are you one of those people who was thrown into the cruel world after graduation, with no chance even to find your place? If you were struggling with finances as I was, you will find yourself lucky if you were able to find any work that would give even minimum salary.

Once you open your social media account, you instantly become envious of the posts of your friends who had it better financially. Your anxiety builds up when you see your friends chilling out at the beach and living the jet-setter life, while you’re still stuck in the office. Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist explains the scenario by stating, “Think about what our devices have done to the fabric of our society. When you go to a restaurant, you’ll see an entire family on their phones. While I’m sure [the rise in social anxiety] is a combination of many factors, I think all of us intuitively understand that it has something to do with technology.”

You’re working for five years already but you feel as if you’re already lost twenty years of your life. At the end of the day, even after giving your all, you feel that you’re still at the bottom of the food chain. You’re feeling burnt-out because of pressures from your boss and co-workers, and there’s a bleak chance at promotion.

 

How can you alleviate anxiety in a world that glorifies only the best? How can you be your personal best at your own pace? Read up and know how.

 

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Maintain Work-Life Balance

You should be able to strike the right balance between work and your personal life. They say all work and no play makes a person dull.

  1. Enjoy Your Weekends!

Are you always the last one to leave the office? Are you accepting calls from your superior even after office hours? Scared that you will be laid off if you don’t receive work on the weekends?

Think of your personal welfare first. You should be the one to set limits. No one will be able to fight for you unless you do it yourself. Use your weekends to recharge and engage in activities that excite you. Working even on the weekends will increase your anxiety and make you susceptible to burnout. “A number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.” That is according to Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP.

 

  1. Reconnect With Family And Friends

When was the last day you were out with your friends? Without really thinking about the pending work you have at the office?

Appreciate the time spent with friends and family. Live in the moment! Don’t spend too much time on social media and being anxious about taking the best pictures. Or thinking about the pending work at the office.

 

Seek Expert Advice

Upon starting this journey towards a better you, it is essential that a medical professional will be able to monitor your progress. If you know you’re feeling anxious all the time, a medical professional will be able to diagnose if you’re suffering from a specific condition.

Set a schedule with a medical professional. This will definitely help you in the long-run.

 

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Live Life At Your Own Pace

Be happy for your friends who are enjoying their life now. You will also get to enjoy yours, sooner or later. You should be able to understand that people have their own timelines.

Think back of your struggles from three years ago. You will be able to realize that you have improved a lot. Using this method often will make you grateful for your journey. Remember that everyone has their own kind of struggle. Don’t worry if you’re struggling a lot now.