DARE TO SAY IT
TEXT SAANA ANNALA
From social isolation to general uncertainty, the current situation is taking its toll on us all. A few weeks back, our Head of Community Saana Annala held Dare to Learn's very first Well-Being Session so that our teams had a chance to talk about their feelings and get some peer support. We also came up with five concrete tips on how to survive in this exceptional situation and now we want to share them with you!
Anxiety, fear, frustration. Feelings of uncertainty and helplessness. A future that is filled with blank spaces and worries. Sounds familiar? The world of COVID-19 in 2020 is not only possessing threats to our physical health, but has created a situation where our mental health is being challenged every day.
Corona anxiety is an actual phenomenon that is now affecting millions of people. It can manifest itself in many ways: from worrying about personal financial situation, to the loneliness of social isolation. Some might experience pure existential anxiety as a result of the worldwide effects of the virus. And for normally busy people, anxiety related to something else might finally come out when all the distractions are gone.
At Dare to Learn, we wanted to give our community a chance to share these possible feelings of anxiety and offer each other some peer support. This is why we gathered together (online, of course) for Dare to Learn’s first Well-Being Session.
In addition to much-needed sharing and caring, we also wanted to come up with concrete tips on how to survive in this exceptional situation. Here’s something we gathered:
1) Reduce your exposure to news.
As the measurements to manage the spread of COVID-19 affect our everyday lives, many are eager to constantly follow the news and update their knowledge on the subject. This, however, might be the main cause of constant anxiety. Scientists recommend no more than 30 minutes of news exposure per day.
2) Allow your feelings of anxiety to wash over you.
To avoid thinking about something might work in certain situations but as we are living in a long-term crisis situation, smothering your emotions tends to backfire. Accepting whatever you are feeling - be it frustration, helplessness or fear - is the first step in dealing with your anxiety. Screaming into a pillow or complaining to a friend over the phone are totally acceptable ways to deal with the crisis.
3) Reframe the crisis.
If you find yourself in a tight spot, looking for the silver lining might feel impossible. Nevertheless, crisis situations tend to bring our new chances as well. What is better in your life because of the situation? What have you learned so far? It might be something small but still valuable.
4) Remember self-care.
Simple things, such as exercising, eating healthy and sleeping might be easily swept aside when working or studying from home. Try to maintain them in your life anyway. All the problems of the world might feel slightly smaller after a good night’s sleep.
In addition, it’s important to remember that we are really living in exceptional conditions right now. Have mercy towards yourself - there’s no need to “embrace” the crisis and learn a new language or organize your wardrobe while waiting for it to end. Getting through your days with your sanity intact is enough - and if you need three hours of reality shows and chocolate for this, go for it.
5) Seek professional help.
The situation is taking its toll on everyone, but for some it's worse than others. Don’t downplay yourself or your feelings: if your anxiety or other negative emotions continue for weeks, it might be a good idea to seek professional help. Doing this rather sooner than later might be the decision that you thank yourself for in the future.
Let’s remember to take care of ourselves and the communities around us. This crisis will come to an end and when that time comes, we will be able to enjoy the things we’ve missed and live our lives to the fullest again. Our vast community will gather in Korjaamo in September and we welcome everyone to join us in reflecting to this time and taking its lessons to build a better future - together.