Over the past six months, many of us have experienced an incredible amount of emotions for such a relatively short amount of time. Not unlike the stages of grief, we’ve gone through a process of shock, anger, and depression, along with plenty of uncertainty and anxiety thrown in there for fun. But there comes a point in all situations where we have to decide if we’re going to dwell on the past (pre-Covid) or accept the situation that we’re in and move forward.
I’ve caught myself using the phrase “When Covid is over…” to an exhaustive extent. It’s mentally draining to keep thinking this way. That we’re stuck and can’t do anything until there’s a vaccine (or whatever the “end” of the virus looks like), and that life is just on pause for the unforeseeable future. But that’s all-or-nothing thinking and it’s just not true. So, that would put us in the acceptance phase. But where do we even start and what can we actually do to work toward the idea of acceptance?
To find out more, I reached out to Dr. Christopher Taylor, founder of Taylor Counseling Group. Founded in 2015, the North Texas counseling group offers affordable, reliable, and accessible mental health services in Texas.
Ways to Cope With Uncertainty and Starting to Cultivate Acceptance
Dr. Christopher Taylor: I always encourage people to express their emotions and feelings. If you are upset or angry, that is okay! No one is happy all of the time, and it is healthy to express genuine emotions. However, do not dwell on the negative, instead, focus on the positive. What has time at home given you? Have you learned something new? The pandemic has resulted in many hardships, but it has also given us more time to focus on ourselves and reevaluate our priorities. For people struggling with the effects of the pandemic, I recommend that they focus on what is important to them. Now is the time to set goals, plan for the future and make time for the things that matter.
Accepting Something You Cannot Change
Dr. Christopher Taylor: The pandemic has created situations and uncertainty that make us feel helpless and anxious. As humans, we love to have control and often dread unexpected changes. Unfortunately, there are some situations we cannot change, like the pandemic, and we must find acceptance so we can learn to cope.
In order to do this, we must first recognize what is within and outside our control and then focus on the things we can control. We must also be gentle with ourselves and allow ourselves to grieve and express anger or frustration when necessary. After these initial first steps, we need to decide how we want to respond to the situation and be intentional with our future thoughts and actions. In doing so, take advantage of the things you can control by setting goals and changing your attitude. Do not allow your current struggles to affect your future decisions and consume your thoughts. Instead, believe that good things are coming and surround yourself with people who believe in you and care about you.
Benefits of Acceptance
Dr. Christopher Taylor: Acceptance allows us to be autonomous because when we accept that situations are out of our control, we allow ourselves to cope and we free ourselves from the pressures of trying to resolve situations we cannot change. Coming to terms with reality helps us move on from uncontrollable situations and take charge of our future actions. In doing so, our mood regulates, our bodies destress and we feel uplifted.
If you’re looking for mental health counseling during these times, check out taylorcounselinggroup.com for affordably priced and accessible counseling in North Texas.