How to control what you can

If you watched Frozen II, you know from Olaf that a good strategy for dealing with your anxiety in the face of a situation you don’t necessarily want to be in is to “Control what you can when things feel out of control.” Although it may feel as though we have no control over the current situation in the midst of a pandemic, there are actually many things that we can control in our lives that will make dealing with all the anxiety, stress and unease easier.

The first thing you can control is how much media you are consuming and which media you choose to consume. Sometimes media companies sensationalize and make certain things appear scarier than what they need to be, and watching the news for extended periods of time is not going to ease anyone’s anxieties. Instead, you can give yourself a time limit for how long you will watch news or other media outlets, specifically those talking about COVID-19, and after that time is up turn to other activities like reading, schoolwork or something relaxing, like colouring. I also implore you to get your information from reputable sources, such as the World Health Organization, government of Canada and government of New Brunswick websites.

You can also control your activities while you’re in quarantine. There are many companies that are offering their services for free for the next several weeks that can help you to stay active during social isolation. My personal recommendations include Down Dog, a yoga and high-intensity interval training app that is offering free membership to students until July 1 (just sign up with your Mt. A email address). Also, My Peak Challenge is running a 30-day social distancing challenge, with free videos to guide you through intermediate-level home workouts. If home workouts aren’t your thing (even though you should give them a chance!), spend some time outside walking and soaking up lovely vitamin D in places that aren’t crowded.

And lastly, you can control your mindset. You can choose to feel cheated out of the last month of the semester and angry that you can’t leave the house, or you can choose to see the cancellation of classes as an opportunity to spend time with your family or work on other, non-academic projects. There are always two sides of any coin, and the one you choose to look at can impact your mindset and your wellbeing. If you find yourself straying into more negative emotions and would like to take control of your attitude, I recommend mindfulness activities that help you focus on what you’re doing in that exact moment without thoughts of what is happening around you.

If you have further questions, feel free to email me at healthintern@mta.ca or covid19@mta.ca. Remember to WASH YOUR HANDS, and call at 811 if you have any health concerns or suspect you may have come in contact with the coronavirus. Stay healthy, friends!

Rachel McDougall
Rachel McDougall is a contributor to the Argosy.