5 Healthy Ways to Deal With Uncertainty Caused By COVID-19

Bryan Miller
Published Feb 11, 2024


For most Americans, the months that have passed since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) have not been easy. The WHO proclaimed COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 13. In the seven months since then, people all over the country have had to deal with more uncertainty than they ever expected to face. In a survey of residents of Tillamook, OR, that was released on October 15, many people shared how the uncertainty was affecting them and the ways they were dealing with it. Read on to learn about five healthy ways you can deal with feelings of uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Create a Germ Circle or Social Bubble


By nature, humans are social creatures. While some people are introverts, everyone needs at least some interaction with other people. However, public health experts have cautioned against spending more than 15 minutes within six feet of people you don't live with, as these interactions can spread the virus that causes COVID-19. If you're at a high risk of complications, your social life and mental well-being may be suffering. One mom of an only child decided to create a sort of germ circle. Others call this a social bubble. This is a situation in which two or three families socialize with each other and nobody else. It works well for families that have several children of similar ages. Kids can play, and the risk is lower than if each family socialized with many others. Interactions outside the bubble are kept to a minimum. The families also exchange childcare with each other. After the school year started, the families used their connections to form a learning pod for homework and navigating online school challenges.

2. Focus on Better But Fewer Online News Sources


It's easy to get stuck in the cycle of bad news. Story after story explains the heartbreak of elderly people who can't visit their spouses in the hospital or nursing home, children who are on ventilators or young parents who unexpectedly lost their lives to COVID-19. As case numbers of COVID-19 have ramped up in the United States in October, many states are seeing record-breaking numbers of new cases and hospitalizations. The more of this you read, the more upset and uncertain you may feel. Limit yourself to two or three news sources for information related to the pandemic, politics and other news. Choose a non-biased source, such as the WHO website, Johns Hopkins University or your local or state public health department. Their information won't include sensationalized headlines that are designed to attract your attention or upset you.

3. Implement Kindness


It's easy to lose your patience. You've been dealing with technology hiccups. Everyone in your household has been stuck around each other for months, and there's no end in sight. You're impatient, stressed and frustrated. While it's critical to let your emotions out in a healthy way, such as exercise, it's also important to practice kindness toward others. You don't know what others are going through. Your partner might be worried about getting laid off. Your teenager may be worried about never seeing their friends again. Young children might be afraid their grandparent or teacher will die. Focus on being kind to others, even if you're tired of being around them. Practicing kindness will calm your spirit and give you something productive to do in these uncertain times.

4. Practice Self-care


You can't help anyone else if you're overwhelmed with emotions. Practice self-care. Take advantage of healthy opportunities when they come along. When the autumn weather is nice, go out on a hike. Visit a metro park, and go on a socially-distanced walk. Order your favorite ingredients, have them delivered to your porch and cook up a feast. Stop at the farmer's market, and choose a cool pumpkin to carve. Step outside with your coffee or tea and watch the birds and squirrels preparing their homes for winter.

5. Try Something New


Swap board games and jigsaw puzzles with your social bubble, or do a porch trade with your neighbor. Plan a movie or game night with the other members of your household. Purchase a learning kit for that hobby you've always wanted to try. A beginner's kit will have everything you need to learn how to crochet, weave, knit, embroider or make beaded jewelry. Try a new recipe that focuses on in-season produce, such as homemade apple cake.

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