Shereeza Ibrahim. B.A.Psych, M.S.W, R.S.W.
With COVID-19, there are so many aspects of our life we’ve lost control over. We lost control over the way we dress in public, who we can visit and how often, where we can travel, how much we can buy, our income and finances, our appointments, and our emotional and mental well-being, to name a few.
We tend to focus on things that are not going right. It’s natural. It’s a protective element that our mind has. It wants to pay attention to these things in order to problem-solve these issues, so that we can ultimately be safe and happy. However being over-attentive to issues we can’t control, causes us to experience excessive worry, anxiety, low-mood and can possibly lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. We need to keep our worry in check.
There are some things we can’t exercise our control over, and things we can. We have turned our attention away from the things we do have freedom to control. We can control how we respond and cope within these changes. We have control over how we spend time with our family, how we use our leisure time, how we choose to be active, how we communicate with social supports and even how we describe our situation.
Some questions to ask yourself: Have I been making optimal use of this quality time with my family lately? Am I building skills and talents that I always wanted to get around to? Can I make better use of the variety options to be active in my home? Am I reaching out to people I’ve lost contact with? This is where you find your freedom. These are the things we have control over that can boost our mood and reduce our stress levels.
It’s not that you’re helpless and hopeless. There is a lot of opportunity and hope left to be pursued.
Your lifestyle is your world. Grab control of it.
Shereeza is a clinical counsellor and author. She works within the medical professional, and offers low-cost clinical telephone counselling (647-334-4556). In 2019, she published a therapeutic Muslim children’s book now being sold worldwide. She has been with the Islamic Institute of Toronto community for over 8 years and is now a regular contributor to the IIT Newsletter.