Managing Feelings: Loss of Normalcy During COVID-19

How do I deal with the human toll from COVID-19 and the impact on life as we know it? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to cope with the loss of normalcy and changes in our lives as a result of the crisis.

Dr. Simon Rego, Montefiore's Chief Psychologist, sitting in an office discussing feelings of loss of normalcy during COVID-19.
Transcript

Many of us are unfortunately experiencing loss during these times. And the loss can take many different forms. For some people it may be loss of employment. For other people it may be loss of the ability to celebrate something special to them like a birthday, bar mitzvah, graduation, anniversary or some other event. Other people are experiencing the loss of just connecting with friends socially, being able to go out to a restaurant or to a sporting event or to a concert, just be with other people in groups. And still other people are experiencing unfortunately a loss of loved ones or colleagues or associates or friends. Maybe all of us to some extent are experiencing a loss of freedom. It's just the freedoms we took for granted that we now have to be a little bit more cautious and a little bit more deliberate about practicing. Whatever the loss you're experiencing, it's important to note that there are some common emotional reactions that underlie almost every sense of loss. For example, it'd be perfectly normal to feel a sense of sadness or grief. It's also perfectly normal to feel a sense of anger or outrage, frustration at the injustice of what we're going through right now. And still other people may feel a sense of guilt, guilt about either having things that other people don't have right now or guilt about being healthy when other people might be getting sick. Could be any one or all of these emotions or something altogether different. Important thing to note is whatever you're feeling, you have the right to feel. The challenge with that is then to figure out what to do with it. And there's two broad concepts that can be helpful whatever you're experiencing in terms of loss. One of them is called radical acceptance and radical acceptance involves accepting things as they are exactly as they are and not as we would like them to be or not as we would hope they would be or not as we think they should be. It is looking at things as subjectively as we can in the here and now and trying not to judge. When we do this, we can't make the situation itself better, but we can relieve some of the suffering that's caused by wanting it to be something other than it is. It's still likely to cause feelings of pain, but the suffering we can control. And then it's important to note we have behavioral choices, actions we can take despite what's in front of us and because of what's in front of us that might help us to feel a little bit better about what's going on. These could include things like connecting with other people through various video conferencing platforms in order to diminish the loss of social connectedness that we might feel or feelings of isolation. Can use things like Zoom or FaceTime, things like Skype to reach out and see people and bring them into our worlds as best we can. We can pick up the phone if you don't have access to video conferencing software and call someone that you haven't spoken with in awhile. If that doesn't work, you can go old school and write a letter. Reach out to someone and make it like a little surprise gift waiting for them in their mailbox in a few days. And if you can't do those things, maybe you can sit out on your porch or stoop and just say hi to people passing by. If you've lost a job, you can take productive action by revising your CV and maybe uploading it to job search engine sites. You can reach out to connections, professional connections and check in with them to see if they know of any potential opportunities that you might not have been aware of. And if you've lost a loved one, you can potentially do things in honor of their memory. You can join with people potentially to create a fund in honor of their memory or journal and remember the good times, the things that they did that contributed so positively in your life and potentially set a course for the future where you keep those positive memories and associations alive. None of these things in and of themselves necessarily take away the loss you're feeling, but all of them together might make it feel just a little bit lighter. Maybe give you the motivation to help other people who may also be experiencing loss in their lives.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OsvH1wvv_rg?autoplay=1&rel=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%covid19.montefiore.org" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
5:12

What to Know


COVID-19: Basics

Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what COVID-19 is, how it spreads and who is at risk. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Wondering how to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting COVID-19? Learn prevention methods from Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever, sore throat, shortness of breath? Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist at Montefiore, explains.

When and how should you seek medical care? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains care at home, when to go to a hospital and testing. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares important steps to take if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as information on research and clinical trials for potential treatments Montefiore-Einstein is conducting. 

This video reflects the latest information available.

Social Distancing

How can you stay safe in and around your home? Montefiore’s Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist Dr. Theresa Madaline explains how to get in and out of your building safely and how to practice safe social distancing if you must leave home.

Is it ok to be outside? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses going outside, how to exercise safely, and whether passing runners or dogs can transmit COVID-19.

How can essential workers stay safe? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how essential workers can protect themselves at their job and take public transport safely.

Can one person make an impact? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how social distancing works and how you can make an impact.

Protection

How should you wash your hands? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how to wash your hands and how often.

What’s the best way to keep your home safe? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shows how to keep your home protected and how to safely handle food and deliveries.

How do you get groceries safely? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses how to shop safely for groceries.

Family Care

What if a family member gets COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what to do if someone in your home gets sick.

What if a parent gets COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, discusses what parents or single parents should do if they get sick.

Can you get reinfected with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what is currently known about COVID-19 immunity and the possibility of reinfection.

How do you care for an older family member who’s home alone? Montefiore’s Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains how to safely care for elderly family members during COVID-19.

Are there any extra precautions pregnant women should take regarding COVID-19? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares ways expectant mothers can keep themselves and their unborn babies safe.

Physical Recovery

How long is a person with COVID-19 contagious? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares the latest information on how to protect others.

Can I get re-infected with COVID-19? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, shares the most current information about COVID-19 immunity and the possibility of re-infection.

What does it mean if my COVID-19 symptoms return, and what should I do? Montefiore's Dr. Theresa Madaline, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist, explains what it means if symptoms return and what to do.

 

Mental Health and Coping


Mental Health Myths

Is it normal to think about COVID-19 all the time? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why it's normal and whether to seek help.

Why am I always anxious? Do I have COVID-19? Will I lose my job? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how part of our brain works to keep us safe from something that could go wrong, and where and when to seek help for COVID-19 anxiety.

Why can’t I deal with my COVID-19 feelings on my own? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains why it’s not weak to ask for help and why you might need assistance coping with COVID-19.

I’m supposed to be providing COVID-19 help, not asking for it. Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why healthcare workers should ask for and receive COVID-19 help.

Will people judge me for seeking help for my fears and anxieties about COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains ways to overcome concerns about being judged, and why seeking support to cope during this time is perfectly fine and necessary.

I'm just too busy with family and work. How can I find time for my COVID-19 feelings? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains why finding time is important for our self-care, and recommends small things we can do to talk about our COVID-19 feelings that can fit into a busy schedule.

How can a therapist help me cope with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains the tools a therapist can provide to help you handle COVID-19, what happens in a session and what to talk about.

I’ve had therapy, and I’m not sure how it can help with COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains what COVID-19 treatment looks like and which approach might work best. 

COVID-19 and Relationships

How can I best stay home with a partner? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses ways to work through the challenges of staying home with another person, as well as things to work on together.

How can I best stay home alone? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, shares tools and techniques to help single people stay home, which can help with social isolation.

How do I juggle work, life and COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses ways to maintain focus and a healthy work-life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Managing Feelings

How do I manage my feelings of anger toward COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses why it's normal to have strong feelings about COVID-19, how to recognize triggers and things we can do to manage anger.

How do I deal with feeling lonely in isolation? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, discusses managing feelings of isolation during COVID-19, and how to seek help.

How do I deal with my anxiety about finances affected by COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to manage financial fears during the crisis.

How can I manage addictive behaviors during COVID-19? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to avoid negative coping methods during the crisis.

How do I deal with the human toll from COVID-19 and the impact on life as we know it? Montefiore’s Chief Psychologist, Dr. Simon Rego, explains how to cope with the loss of normalcy and changes in our lives as a result of the crisis.

Anxiety Busters

Taking a deep breath can help reduce anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, demonstrates ways to breathe better when feeling anxious about COVID-19.

Balancing negative thinking with positivity can help reduce anxiety about COVID-19. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, shows how making a gratitude list can spark positive thinking.

Focusing on the moment can help reduce COVID-19 anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, shares techniques for staying present during this difficult time.

Negative thoughts can create more anxiety. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides techniques to combat negative thinking during the COVID-19 crisis, including knowing the triggers and the 3 questions to ask.

Getting a good night's sleep can help combat anxiety caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides techniques for sleeping better during the pandemic.

Keeping your body active is a great way to relieve anxiety and can boost your immune system. Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Assistant Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Paul Bulman, provides ways to work in regular exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic for physical and mental health.

Essential Workers and COVID-19

Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford, explains how essential workers and their families can handle concerns arising from COVID-19 work.

Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford, explains how the family and close friends of essential workers can navigate concerns arising from their loved ones’ COVID-19 work.

As an essential worker, how can I best handle conversations about COVID-19 with my loved ones? Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford gives essential workers tips on how to have conversations about COVID-19 with loved ones.

If my loved one is an essential worker, how can I best handle sharing my concerns about COVID-19? Montefiore’s Supervising Psychologist and Director of the Trauma-Informed Care Program, Dr. Dana Crawford offers advice on how to communicate about COVID-19 with loved ones who are essential workers.

Surviving COVID-19

What's it like to survive COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, shares her personal experience with COVID-19. She talks about quarantining with her family in a two-bedroom apartment, coping with her fiancé contracting COVID-19, asking friends for help and emotionally working through her diagnosis. She also offers advice based on what she learned during this experience.

What happens after recovering from COVID-19? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, shares her personal experience after recovering from COVID-19, and what she learned about symptoms coming back and the importance of self-care after recovery.

Who to tell about your positive COVID-19 diagnosis and when? Montefiore’s Dr. Miguelina Germán, Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services, discusses life living with COVID-19, how she decided which family and friends to contact and when was the right time to tell them about her positive diagnosis.

Parenting During COVID-19

How can parents talk about what's happening as a result of COVID-19 with kids of all ages? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, discusses how to help kids understand COVID-19 using techniques to encourage talking about their feelings resulting from the life changes and uncertainty they're experiencing because of the pandemic, and how parents can model coping methods to help kids make more sense of their world.

How can I help a teenager cope with the life changes and risks caused by COVID-19? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, discusses ways to help teens cope with uncertainty and loss due to COVID-19, as well as taking the risks of contracting or spreading the virus seriously.

How can parents manage both their stress and the stress inflicted on their families by COVID-19? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, shares techniques to help cope and manage stress in these unprecedented times.

What are red flags I should look for to know if my child needs help? Dr. Sandra Pimentel, Montefiore’s Chief Child and Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents of children struggling during COVID-19 and explains what therapy looks like for children, including virtual health options.

Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health