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We’re calling it plague dread. It’s that feeling that seems so inescapable right now, that sense of foreboding mixed with terror and boredom. As Amanda Mull put it: “For many, all that’s left to do is to sit at home and brace for an unimaginable impact.”
But this feeling is escapable, at least partially. “A virus can invade our bodies, but we get to decide whether we let it invade our minds,” Lori Gottlieb, our Dear Therapist columnist, writes in her guide to staying sane during a pandemic.
If you’re seeking relief from plague dread today, try …
… practicing the both/and method.
“It’s horrible AND we can allow our souls to breathe.”
… not checking the news every few minutes.
“A daily update makes sense. But bingeing on up-to-the-minute news is like stress eating—it’s bloating our minds with unhealthy food that will make us feel sick.”
… giving yourself the space to let go.
“Some anxiety is productive—it’s what motivates us to wash our hands often and distance ourselves from others when there’s an important reason to do so … But unproductive anxiety— unchecked rumination—can make our mind spin in all kinds of frightening directions.”
Lori also joined our new daily-ish podcast, Social Distance, to chat about coping with this crisis. Listen to the episode.