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  • How to stop putting life on hold in the age of the coronavirus

    Most people in the world have put much of their life on pause as they cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In many cases this is necessary. For example, the spread of COVID-19 has forced athletic organizations to cancel sporting events and practices, as they inherently involve large gatherings of people. However, it is possible, and necessary, to not put all of life on hold until the end of the pandemic. A recent article by Marie Leznicki in PsychCentral discussed what people can do to return to living more of their life now rather than putting things off and thinking, “Once COVID-19 ends, I will do X, Y, and Z.”

    Get creative about life events

    People had plans and expectations for how they would be spending their time right now. Those plans were upended and people have a sense of loss. Leznicki suggests people find ways to follow through on their plans now, at least in spirit. People may not be able to travel to Italy right now. However, they can still mark the occasion by cooking their favorite Italian dish, listening to Pavoratti, and then watching their favorite Italian film. Creatively following through on plans now helps people to live in the moment rather now putting life on hold. Plus, the trip to Italy can always wait until next year.

    Choose helpful thinking

    Leznicki points out that worry does not help and that fear does not predict the future. Uncertainty is usually anxiety provoking and there appears to be more uncertainty than ever. When people focus on what is outside their control they often feel overwhelmed. However, when focus on what is inside their control they are better able to solve problems and live in the moment.

    Benefit from hindsight now

    Most people are familiar with the phrase “hindsight is 2020.” Leznicki suggests that people tap into that hindsight now by imagining themselves in the future reflecting on this time. People can ask themselves questions such as “How do I want to look back on this time?” and “How can emerge from this a better version of myself?” and “Will I be proud of how I am handling this?”

    Following the above tips can help during this especially distressing time. If you are interested in learning how CBT online therapy (telehealth) can give you more tools for re-engaging with life, schedule a free consultation.

    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.