Handy tips from a retired fear-fear

Have you felt an itch in your throat and thought “Oh my God, is this it!” ? Have you sneezed and instantly started to Google the symptoms of coronavirus even though you already Googled it 17 times in the last 24 hours? Have you felt a little warm and touched your neck several times to be sure you don’t have a fever? Because I’ve done all three!

If you’ve been with this blog for a long time, you’ll know that I’m a fear-fear…Or a retired fear-fear maybe? Remember when I had to face my fears by force here? Well, with all the COVID-19 news, this period has gotten pretty scary for me at some point and that hasn’t been good for me. When I’m too scared or anxious about something, I:

  • Lose sleep over it. 
  • Start to feel ill or sick from all the mental stress. 
  • Cause even more mental distress for myself by overthinking it
  • Pretend I don’t even care.  
  • Feel overwhelmed. 

One of the things I decided to do more intentionally in 2020 is to face more of my fears and so I drafted a list of things that scare me that I’ve always wanted to do. If you read why I stopped making new year resolutions, then you’d know that I really wouldn’t have done any of these things if I did not make practical plans towards each of these things.

So I did all of this and I thought I had #FaceYourFears2020 on lockdown but here’s one thing I did not plan for – UNCERTAINTY. I didn’t think that a virus will emerge and start spreading so widely killing thousands in a day. I didn’t think I’d be stuck at home and unable to go anywhere just to be safe and ensure other people are safe. I didn’t think I’d be wiping down my furniture every four hours even though nobody has come in or gone out of my house. I did not plan for this! And to be honest, I don’t think anybody else did either. However, in the spirit of #FaceYourFears2020, I decided to apply some of my previous fear-facing tips to this situation and also figure out additional tips that can help me through this period. I’m sharing them here because in my head, we’re all in this together. So, here’s how I’ve been holding up:

  • Feel the fear.

The first step to facing or conquering your fear is to first acknowledge that you have that fear and let yourself feel it. Don’t pretend. It’s easy to leave it at the back of your mind and act like it doesn’t exist but it does! So acknowledge the fear. Feel it. But don’t bask in it. Acknowledge your emotion with understanding.

  • Don’t make a rash decision.

When you’re scared, your instinct is to do something about it. It’s like finding yourself in a burning house. Your instinct is to run or find some way to get yourself out of that situation. However, when it comes to fear, your instinct is not always right. For instance, when a person is drowning, their instinct is to struggle. However, they sometimes drown faster because they’re struggling Don’t make a rash decision in your moment of panic. Read, think, weigh your options and make informed decisions…which leads to my next point:

  • Stay informed

Don’t obsess over the news but make sure you’re in the loop about what’s happening. Get your information only from trustworthy sources and don’t overdo it. Refrain from checking for updates compulsively because that will only increase your anxiety.

  • Positive reinforcement.

Sometimes I tell myself, “If I go through today without talking about COVID or just basking in this anxiety, I’m getting these fire sneakers once it’s all over.” Crazy but effective. I need an excuse for new shoes 😂 Basically, set goals and reward yourself for pushing through them.

  • Don’t rush your self…

It may take sometime for the reality of what is happening to sink and that’s okay. Just take it one day at a time. Don’t overload yourself with information.

  • Focus on what you can control

Let your focus be on the things you can control like taking precautions, staying in your house, washing your hands and wiping shared surfaces as opposed to focusing on things you can control like the number of new cases or deaths.

  • Keep things in perspective

Speaking of COVID-19, we know what it is, we know how to detect it, majority of the cases are mild, the situation is improving in some countries, people are getting better etc. It’s easy to focus on the bad numbers when you’re scared. Take some time to look at the good numbers too.

  • Pray

If you feel scared or anxious, just say a prayer. It doesn’t have to be long but it really helps. There’s a peace that comes with talking with God and also reminding yourself of His promises to you. When He said He’d never leave you or forsake you, He meant it.

  • Have a support system

Even if you’re alone at home in this time, stay connected with your friends and family and be there for each other. Remember tough times don’t last but tough people do.

So that’s it! That’s how I’ve been pushing through this period and taking it one day at a time. Tell me, how are you coping? If you have advice that isn’t listed, please share in the comments! We’re all in this together.

Keep staying safe guys!

Love,

Tomi of Lagos

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