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Five Minutes to Thrive: Coping With COVID-19

Minot Strong

Minot Air Force Base is working continuously to bring more information to the base populace on COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman Jan Valle)


First, it’s important to actually acknowledge and validate that many are feeling worried, stressed, or any number of unpleasant emotions. This is normal, and denying it seems pointless and even unhelpful. It is normal to feel a variety of emotions in the face of uncertainty, and part of social resilience (and being a good human) involves
acknowledging and validating our own feelings, as well as others’.

When individuals face crises, real or perceived, it is normal to react; after all, we are hard-wired for self- preservation. Communities facing crises are comprised of individuals with various life experiences, which may cause them to interpret similar events as more or less threatening than others.
Perceptions of scarcity often drive behaviors that add complexity to crisis situations, and evince a lack of consideration for the needs of others. Stockpiling resources doesn’t serve the common good, but neither do judgmental-ism and shaming, which are also natural reactions to discomfort brought on by crisis. Everyone copes differently.

When facing crisis, it’s important to remember that we can only control what we can control. Let’s remind ourselves that it’s not helpful to spend too much time worrying about the things we cannot change.

So how can you cope with a crisis?

1) Decrease your stress response – experiencing a crisis may cause your body’s stress response to become triggered and stay heightened for prolonged periods. Consider practicing stress relief techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation to re-center yourself and help you feel less stressed.

2) Process your feelings – COVID-19 may be contributing to a variety of feelings, all of which are okay. Take advantage of social distancing and write in a journal, or talk with a friend to release those emotions.

3) Take care of yourself – maybe that means getting a couple of extra hours of sleep, or working out a little longer than usual. Be creative! If your gym is closed, find a workout that you can do at home with little to no equipment.

4) Focus on your spirituality – whatever that means for you, consider spending some extra time with that as a specific focus.

5) Unplug – there is a lot of information, misinformation, and disinformation out there on the various media channels. Consider intentionally unplugging throughout your day and reconnect with family (pets included!). Play a game. Learn a new hobby. Choose activities that decrease your stress level.

For questions, contact Dr. Ashley Kilgore at ashley.c.kilgore.mil@mail.mil or the Minot Mental Health Clinic 701-723-5527

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