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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

How To Cope With Anger During The Coronavirus Shelter-In-Place

Along with the stress and worry surrounding the Coronavirus, another feeling has arisen and is present all around—anger. As the shelter-in-place continues with no end in sight, people feel more and more impatient, uneasy, and on edge.


Is it any surprise? Being confined at home is unnatural. Miscommunication, misinformation, and ambiguity around preventive measures have created confusion and frustration. A simple trip to the grocery store is now an elaborate operation that requires careful moves so that we don’t bring home the virus. Worrying about you or a relative or friend falling sick also adds to the tension. Thousands of people losing their jobs is the (bitter) cherry on top. How can anyone not be angry, really?


When people are angry, they’re looking for someone to blame and lash out on. Anything and anyone can be annoying. So, we end up snapping at our spouses, getting into arguments at the grocery store, or lashing out on social media. And some go so far as to blatantly disregard CDC guidelines and social distancing instructions, saying that these measures are violating fundamental human rights and their freedom.


It’s normal to feel angry. But anger is a feeling that needs to be mitigated before it hurts those on the receiving end of your blowups. The following 9 tips can help you refill your patience and better cope with anger during the coronavirus lockdown.


1. Acknowledge your frustration


Anger is a negative emotion and, as such, it’s been stigmatized and labeled as toxic and futile. You might have been taught that anger is beneath you, even. Not allowing yourself to feel anger, however, and trying to suppress it will only create this boiling feeling in your chest and end up with you lashing out on the wrong people, at the wrong moment, or in the wrong way.


So before anything else, come to terms with your feelings. Understand that it’s absolutely normal and healthy to feel frustrated these days when so much has changed and been taken from you. And accept that you too might be angry about this situation.


2. Use exercise as an outlet for your anger


There’s a good reason why health professionals unanimously hail the benefits of exercise. Even when practicing social distancing, going out for a walk or a run—as long as you keep a distance of 6 feet—is allowed. This goes to show that exercise is fundamental to our mental and physical wellbeing. If you choose to exercise at home, cardio and strength training are the best options for releasing tension, anger, and stress. Plus, it’s a good way to let out extra energy that makes you restless and nervous.


3. Meditate


Meditation will help you resist persistent thoughts that trigger emotions like anger or anxiety. Many meditation apps offer deep breathing practices or guided meditations specifically created to soothe anger, while in others you'll find relaxing music and sounds.


4. Don’t engage in Coronavirus conversations


Just like it’s beneficial to accept your anger, it’s equally important to talk about it. This doesn’t mean that you constantly complain about how Coronavirus is affecting your life, though. By doing so, not only will your anger grow stronger, but you may also upset others.


Everybody needs a break from this discussion, really, especially when there's nothing new to say. Be the first one to stop bringing up the subject and focus on your life after the Coronavirus.


5. Take a break from social media


Social media is an angry person’s paradise. Here, you’ll find everything you need to get worked up, as well as plenty of recipients to vent your anger to, conspiracy theorists, ridiculous coronavirus advice, and many, many people already complaining. Don’t indulge in this madness. Stay informed through official resources and, if you’re feeling lonely, call or skype with your friends.


6. Don’t pressure yourself


Although you do need to find something to distract yourself, you don’t necessarily have to work towards accomplishing a personal goal. Unless setting a more specific goal would be more effective in getting you through this, you could cause yourself extra stress and feel more agitated.


Don’t pressure yourself to take up every 30-day challenge going around on the internet or read a decade’s worth of books just to prove that you managed to make something out of this situation. Watch a movie or a series, read a book, or cook—do whatever helps you relax and pass the time pleasantly. Staying at home is enough of an accomplishment.


7. Get enough sleep


Lack of sleep can leave you feeling irritable and depressed. Unfortunately, stress and lack of exercise don’t work in your favor, so during these days you might find it harder to drift off or sleep peacefully.


Finding ways to stay active is essential in getting a good night's sleep. Apart from exercising, you can move around the house doing chores, taking out the trash, or do gardening if you're lucky enough to have a garden. To relax, try taking a bath before going to bed, and also dim the lights and shut down electronic devices one hour before bedtime.


8. See the purpose behind shelter-in-place


Right now, we’re all waiting for the storm to pass because there’s nothing else we can do. This alone can be frustrating. It’s easy to get bogged down in the discomfort and the seeming helplessness of the situation and forget to see this for what it is—an active stance against one of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced. So next time you feel like you’re just wasting your time and missing out on fun moments, remember why you’re doing this.


Now is also a chance to reevaluate our attitude around human connection or even the importance that certain people have in our lives. And we can develop some empathy for people who have always lived with restrictions due to illness, and appreciate how lucky we are to be healthy.


9. Call a mental health hotline


The shelter-in-place can take its toll on your mental health or worsen pre-existing conditions. If talking to friends is not enough to help you cope with anger, depression, or anxiety, call the New York State hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or your therapist.


Life has been suspended until further notice. Although it sounds ironic, remember that you’re not alone in this. The frustration you’re feeling is shared by literally millions of people across the world. Know that it will end soon and that, even though it doesn’t seem so at the moment, we will all come out of this having learned something.


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