Counseling and Testing Center
Coping with Covid-19 (part 2)
- Dr. Karl Laves, (Licensed Counseling Psychologist) Associate Director, WKU Counseling Center
- Monday, March 16th, 2020
In our last post we talked about the stages of grief/trauma so that people won’t be afraid of what they are feeling as time goes on. We are all going to have some moments of very strong emotions. Don’t be afraid of what you are feeling; sit with the feelings and ask yourself why they are important.
In this post we are going to talk about one of many ways to cope with changes in life. This technique goes by many different names. To keep it simple here we are going to call it “flipping”. Flipping is when you take the way you see a certain situation and you “flip” the way you see it to its opposite. For example, we will all face more isolation as we continue to practice social distancing. Most of us would see this isolation as a “bad” thing, as an unwanted thing. If we flip it to being a good thing, a wanted thing. What would make isolation a good thing?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder….or something like that. Spending less time with people now might actually help you value them more. You might spend more time thinking about why you miss them which leads to thinking more about why you like them. Think of time away from friends as something like taking time away from the gym. Too much of a good thing can backfire. You need some downtime to balance your life.
Instead of thinking about social distancing as missing out on being with friends, think of it as more time to spend with yourself and more times for your friends to get the same benefits. Plus, with the technology available today, it isn’t that hard to stay in contact while also staying physically away.
Another example of flipping would be to say, “maybe now would be a good time to start something I have been putting off” instead of saying, “I’m going to get so bored now”. Our perception of an event has a lot of control over the emotions we will have. If we see something as a threat, we react differently than if we see it as a challenge or a blessing. Experimenting with flipping could help you find more energy and excitement as you look ahead to the next couple of months.
Yes, we will all be isolated. Yes, it will not be like it was. But that doesn’t mean we have to see it as a bad thing. Flipping isn’t the same as saying, “well, look on the bright side” or,“just say no”. Flipping is more about accepting the negative in a situation without giving up on the positive.
Quick summary and tips when facing social isolation because of social distancing:
- Think of it as a rest period or down time from friends. Everyone takes a break so that you don’t take people for granted.
- Think of it as unexpected free time; time to get to those things you have been putting off, like reading for fun, organizing a closet, starting a new workout routine instead of hanging out with friends.
- Keep using social media and think of special messages, tags, groups, etc. to reach out to others.
- Practice random acts of kindness….like this guy in Italy https://www.classicfm.com/composers/puccini/nessun-dorma-florence/?fbclid=IwAR0plHyV6VUW1RrMAXp8znd2AvQ1OonWM_kqusd36oWtptQm_9fmuCFdqGA