As part of the Deseret Book Live! series, psychologist and author Wendy Ulrich offered valuable, frank tips on how to stay mentally healthy during COVID-19.
Ulrich addresses adjusting productivity expectations, fighting loneliness, focusing on hope, and balancing needs.
Some of Ulrich’s advice might sound surprising. For example, she does not advise viewers on how to eliminate the feelings of anxiety and depression that many are experiencing during this time of uncertainty. Ulrich explains that focusing on eliminating those feelings can actually worsen them.
“Depression and anxiety are tricky things during this time because we want to get rid of them, but you don’t necessarily get rid of them. Then we feel anxious about being anxious, and you get into this cycle that makes things worse,” said Ulrich.
Instead of jumping into eliminating anxious feelings, Ulrich suggests acknowledging that it is okay and normal to feel anxious right now. Then, she suggests taking small steps to help manage emotions. Ulrich says she does this by asking herself, “What do I have to do right now?” This allows her to focus on present challenges and not dwell on the uncertainty of the future.
Ulrich provided 12 additional practical tips that viewers can immediately start implementing. These tips include writing down specific fears, which will help them feel more manageable, and writing down all available resources for addressing those fears. Ulrich also invited viewers to consider what they get to do right now that they wouldn’t otherwise.
The video ends with a powerful reminder that while the world doesn’t know what the future holds, the Lord does. The world will have to learn to handle ambiguity, but no one has to do it alone.
“Leaving ourselves in an ambiguous place can be really challenging, but we can tolerate not knowing because the Lord does know. He does see the end from the beginning. He will help me through. I don’t have to do all of this by myself, whatever it is. I don’t have to feel like I have to do it all alone. And when we can do that, we can continue to try and continue to work at it, but we can do it with a little less anxiety, and little less whining, a little less self-pity, and a little more trust that the Lord is with us and we can trust Him. He is trusting us to manage this and we can trust Him to help us,” said Ulrich.
Watch the video below: