1. Soothe/reduce emotional pain.
- With self-compassion: Remind yourself that this is not your fault and does not mean that you are a failure; much is not in your control; it’s completely understandable that you feel the way you do; if you’re stressed/struggling/anxious, you’re not alone in it.
- With fun/pleasant activities: For example, step outside, exercise, stretch, listen to a funny podcast, watch comedy, play a game, listen to music, create art, take a hot shower, nap, read, etc. – even if you don’t enjoy them as much as you would under other circumstances, these activities can still help to reduce the intensity of emotional pain and are worth doing.
2. Look for hope.
- Many people are working on solutions to help financially, medically, and to provide support within communities. Our mind naturally pays more attention to signs of danger and despair, but with effort, we can increase attention toward realistic sources of hope too.
3. Connect with people.
- Prioritize video chats/phone calls with friends, family, co-workers, etc.
- Spend time with the people in your home that’s focused on talking and interacting rather than just sharing space (though having your own space at times can be important too – it’s about balance).
- Ask people how they’re doing, listen without judgment, and ask how you can support them.
4. Contribute/find meaning.
- Check in with people who live alone to see how they’re doing
- Send an encouraging message to someone – this can have a powerful impact during a stressful time.
- Help people out in ways that you can and give yourself credit for that (i.e., don’t minimize it because it’s less than you could do under other circumstances or it’s not as much as other people can contribute right now).
5. Increase safety.
- Store lethal means safely (e.g., store guns separate from ammunition, locked in a safe, different location than your home; medications should be safely stored as well and not unnecessarily stockpiled).
- Program emergency numbers into your phone – e.g., Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741), 1-800-273-TALK.