Just a few short months ago, COVID 19 seemed to be all but a thing of the past.
Mask mandates were being lifted for those who were fully vaccinated, get togethers were resuming in safe ways, hospitals weren’t overwhelmed with COVID 19 patients, and overall COVID 19 numbers were dropping. Then came the Delta Disappointment.
At the end of July 2021, all of that changed. The more contagious Delta Variant of COVID 19 became the primary variant of the virus being spread in the US. People who were vaccinated were told not only could they still spread the virus, but they could also still contract the virus, albeit likely a less severe version. Masks were recommended for everyone once again. For so many people, this shift created a sense of despair, hopelessness, and disappointment. We have done this before, wearing masks everywhere, monitoring symptoms, and constant hand washing, but being here again can feel even harder than it did the first time around. For some, these feelings manifest as anger, for some it is sadness. Some cannot tolerate to think about anything related to COVID 19 at all, and for some, it is all they want to discuss. Anxiety is high, and frustration is palpable.
The mental health community has been discussing the impacts of COVID 19 on the collective mental health of our society, and we are here to help. Knowing how to handle these feelings of fear and disappointment can be challenging.
So, what can we do about it? How can you manage the feelings of fear, confusion, disappointment, and hopelessness that come along with the Delta Variant?
Here are some tips to help you manage your Delta Disappointment:
- Name the feeling. Trying to ignore what you are feeling is rarely an effective strategy for managing the feeling itself. If you can say, “I am really disappointed and scared that COVID 19 cases are on the rise again,”, it can take some of the power away from the thought or feeling. Parents, talk to your kids about what is going on. They may not have the vocabulary to express their feelings, but they are scared and confused, too.
- Understand the grieving process. We are grieving the feelings of relief and hope that were palpable earlier this summer. Grief can take many different forms. Knowing that grief is a lot of what we are experiencing can help us to talk through it. There is no right way to grieve, but you can have a better understanding of it.
- Find COVID-safe ways to spend time with friends and family. The weather this time of year lends itself to being outdoors. We have learned from the CDC, COVID 19 is much less easy to spread outside. Take appropriate precautions, engage in social distancing (6 feet apart if not in the same household), wash your hands, and wear a mask, but safe social contact can make everything feel less hopeless. Remember to get tested and avoid close contact with others if you are having symptoms.
- Know that, while we cannot predict the future, things are likely to change again eventually. Doctors and scientists are constantly learning new things about COVID 19, and knowing that precautions may change can help manage the confusion and fear.
- Talk to a professional. We, as therapists, are well equipped to help you manage the anxiety and depression that has come with COVID 19. We are experiencing it right alongside you. Talking to a professional about your feelings can help bring perspective and help you channel your feelings in a productive way.
You are not alone.
Scientists and doctors are making predictions, but it is difficult to know what will happen in the future with COVID 19. We may not have much control over the virus itself, but we can do our best to prepare for uncertainty. The Delta Variant of COVID 19 feels very scary right now. Do what you can to protect yourself and those around you and lean on your support system when you need to. Go forth and buy yourself a fun new mask. We are in this together.
Interested in therapy? Send us an email or give us a call today at 217-203-2008!