Covid-19 and the fear of World War: how to cope in tough times

Here is some practical advice on how to regain emotional and mental well-being in the post-Covid world

By Mary M. McCambridge

“Instead of starting to emotionally stabilize from Covid-19 trauma, the world has turned upside down again   and we really aren’t sure how safe we are from the possibility of World War III” – Mary McCambridge

When midnight struck on January 1, 2020, ushering in a new year and decade, we looked forward to new opportunities. Little did we know that within months our entire existence would be changed as a result of a frightening pandemic.

Our world was controlled by a virus that we had no way of knowing how long it would last, how deep it would entrench itself into our worlds and how horrific a toll it would take on our physical, social, intellectual, financial, spiritual and emotional well being.

But, now, over two years later, we get to witness the fallout and the damage and the suffering and the grief that comes from the deaths of so many we loved. The coronavirus swept over us with such speed and devastation that we were left in shock.

Read: Covid-19 and the rise in mental health disorders (November 3, 2021)

So many of our family members and friends and neighbors contracted the illness with little warning while most had been completely healthy beforehand. And within a matter of days their health declined so rapidly that there was little we could do to save them.

We didn’t have enough information as quickly as we needed it to be able to find the right combinations of medicines to help ensure that they would survive the illness.

Consequently, we lost too many precious people that we loved and now we look back on their deaths and the grief that we’ve been living with since that time.

Yet now instead of starting to emotionally stabilize from all this trauma, the world has turned upside down again and we really aren’t sure how safe we are from the possibility of World War III.

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And although we thought we were just finding our balance again emotionally and even physically; we are now wondering what will happen in the future.

Will there be a recurrence of the virus? Will war break out in our country? Will our military and perhaps even our citizens be required to step up to battle an enemy to keep our vulnerable safe? Will our communal struggles in the streets calm down when we realize there is a bigger enemy than our local neighbors?

We are living in unprecedented times and from one day to the next we are definitely uncertain of what may come into our lives. How our lives may be completely changed in so many different ways that we could never have imagined.

And we wonder how we will endure another round of horrific illnesses or wars or weapons of destruction coming against us and our people. There is just so much unpredictability in life.

We fear for our children and their future. We fear for our older relatives who must endure such hardships. We fear for ourselves as we take care of the young and old. So, let’s look at how we can help ourselves during such times.

The unsettling feeling, that we are less in control of our lives than we were before, has gripped our soul and it can produce anxiety, stress and even depression. But the sad fact is we do not have control over our lives. When we seriously think about this, we don’t have control even though we think we do.

Read: We must share Covid-19 vaccines with those who are less fortunate (January 30, 2022)

Yes, we can control certain aspects of our life, but ultimately something will happen that makes us realize we are not in charge of anything, whether that be the death of a loved one, the impending death of someone we are close to, or even a traumatic event that leaves us physically or emotionally hurt.

And at that point, we get to decide how we will react. Will we meditate, pray and bring ourselves back to our center or will we lash out, blame others, go into victimhood because life is not fair.

Now we may have our own little pity party and, for a time, that is expected. But staying there and blaming everything and everyone will not serve us. It never does.

It only leads to pain, anger, and depression. So, we must console ourselves with love and peace and help ourselves realize that we don’t have control over what happens but we can control our reactions to it.

And during this process we can gain more peace by becoming closer to the God of our faith. Now you may be really angry with your God because of what you think He should have done or didn’t do either for the person you loved who died, or for the circumstances you find yourself in.

But ultimately, I found, that welcoming Him into my life was a great comfort when there were few genuine people around me. I found I could count on Him when all hell was breaking loose around me.

I would sit early in the morning and late at night when it was quiet and spend time praying and listening for guidance and peace. Other wisdom I learned was the Gift of Gratitude. When we put ourselves in an ‘attitude of gratitude’ we appreciate even the smallest things around us which bring us joy.

In my podcast, The Mary Mac Show, I encourage my listeners to purchase a journal which they consider their Gratitude Journal and to write five things each evening in it that they are grateful for.

Small things, bigger things 

Start at the top of a clean page with the words “I am so happy and grateful now that…” I have clean sheets to sleep on, that I have enough food, water, shelter. That I have the funds to purchase what I need. That I am safe wherever I go. That I had as much time with my loved one who died as I had. That my love for them and their love for me will always be with me.

As you move forward and concentrate each day on those things in your life you are grateful for, your outlook changes from one of fear, anxiety, procrastination and feeling stuck, to one of being lighter and more forward thinking and opening yourself up to considering opportunities and helpful people you might not have noticed before.

You can also search online for videos of the Emotional Freedom Technique which is a series of taps on the meridian lines in your body which give relief to the emotional and physical pain you may be feeling at any given time.

This has been exceptionally helpful to me to calm me when things felt overwhelming and it will help you also. Simply search for the emotion you are currently feeling and tap to help it, for example “EFT Depression” or “EFT Grief”.

Read: Everything you need to know about kids and Covid-19 Vaccine (March 31, 2022)

Lastly, take some time to do a good deed for another. When we take our focus off of ourselves, something wonderful happens. A sense of satisfaction comes over us and we feel better.

It doesn’t have to be large; it can be as simple as bringing a meal to a widow or helping with young ones while a bereaved parent takes some quiet time for themselves.

We may not know what is ahead in this chaotic world we live in, but if we are to survive, we must arm ourselves with tools – meditation, quiet music, prayer, faith, EFT, Gratitude Journals, kindness toward others – that will help us along the way.

Nothing is certain in this world.  Be prepared to the best of your ability.

(Mary M. McCambridge (Mary Mac), is a grief authority, executive coach, speaker and award-winning author. She established GriefAuthority.com, the Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc., and her weekly podcast, The Mary Mac Show. Heard in over 80 countries, India is her second largest listening audience behind the United States and available on Gaana. Pick up her free ebook “21 Things You Must Know About The Grieving Process”)

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