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4 Steps To Recover From The Trauma Of The Pandemic

4 Steps To Recover From The Trauma Of The Pandemic December 5, 2021

Am I the only one who has become a hermit since COVID hit? I used to always be going and zipping all over town. Now I stay home and spend time with the family. It’s been wonderful for our family’s closeness. But it has affected my mental health and isolated me more than I like. And I honestly feel like I need to recover from this Pandemic.

My friend and I were talking yesterday. She moved here just as COVID hit from another state. And she was lamenting how hard it has been to make friends and meet new people lately. And I realized the whole neighborhood has become COVID hermits!

 

Pandemic

This pandemic brought a lot of worries, anxiety, and fear to most of the world. I personally remember the early days when they weren’t sure how COVID spread. We worried that even the air outside wasn’t safe.

The daily reports on the news were sobering. I’ll never forget seeing images of New York City where there were a thousand deaths a day at one point. It was awful!

Moments like these leave their mark. Everyone felt the impact of COVID in one form or another. And now that things are beginning to get back to normal, we all need to process the trauma. All of us lost someone we love, and our lives changed.

As I mentioned in the previous article, some of those changes were not bad. But every change requires adjustment and causes stress. From working from home to ending travel to homeschooling, COVID had no shortage of adjustments for all of us.

 

Health effects of stress

According to the American Psychological Association:

Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.

Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body.

Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders.

Some studies show that acute stress—such as the death of a loved one—can actually trigger asthma attacks. In addition, the rapid breathing—or hyperventilation—caused by stress can bring on a panic attack in someone prone to panic attacks.

Chronic stress, or constant stress experienced over a prolonged period of time, can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and blood pressure, can take a toll on the body. This long-term ongoing stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack, or stroke.

The article details many other issues for the body when exposed to prolonged stress- exactly like we all experienced in the last year and a half. This is why I am convinced we all need to recover from the last 18+ months.

 

How to recover

 

1- Do a self-inventory

So maybe it’s time to take a minute to do a self-inventory. How has your health been affected by these last two years? Are you like me and have a few pounds to shed? Maybe there were some great habits that went by the wayside during covid that you could resurrect? Or have you been too isolated? The first and best way to recover from anything is to take stock of where you are, and where you need to go.

2- Set Goals

For me, I have a goal to start visiting friends again. That social connection has been missing and can’t be effectively replaced with social media or texting. I am addicted to people. Having the chance to be in the same room and feel that person’s energy and laugh with them, nothing can replace that. Zoom comes close, but it’s not quite the same.

Have you been taking your vitamins? It’s clear that our collective health has been affected by this pandemic. So, I have a goal to start being more active. Fortunately, I kept up my vitamin regimen. What we can’t forget is that life keeps going. And we need to be at our best to tackle- and conquer- the next big thing.

3- Turn to Christ

I found that when I was panicking about the pandemic and worried about how to keep my family safe that there wasn’t much room for God’s light. And when I would take the time to ask the Lord for help, He always set things straight. He assured me and calmed my soul so many times.

So as you head back to normal, and start your COVID recovery, He is an excellent resource we should never overlook. Christ is the ultimate recovery advocate. That is what the atonement is all about- the beauty of growth and change.

4- Gain a fresh perspective

Sometimes a fresh perspective is all we need to help us recover and get back to what really matters. I found that a drive through the mountains, and a visit to a small town helped me a lot. Not as much changed there as it did in the big city. And seeing things with new eyes reminded me of what I love.

 

Keep Going

This life will keep sending us challenges. That is the whole point of this Earthly experience. We are here to learn, but that learning is not without its effects on our bodies and minds. Fortunately, we have the Great Mediator on our side. He knows you better than anyone. And He will guide you back to normal if you ask.

 

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