We are now into the second year of the pandemic in Kelowna. It has been a bumpy ride but we are finally beginning to turn the corner. Or are we? Recent data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control are showing rising rates of COVID infection in downtown and central Kelowna and the Glenmore and Lake Country areas. At the same time, vaccine rates are slowly growing but remain comparatively lower in Lake Country and Rutland. Many people are feeling anxious and tensions are running high.
At Waypoint Counselling Network, we are hearing from many clients in the Kelowna area who are feeling so tired of the pandemic. Some people are also feeling stressed and even angry when they see friends, family, or strangers ignoring public health guidelines that have been put in place. These angry feelings are really taking a toll. But now is the time to be kind to one another. Take a breath and remember we don’t always know the full story of what others have been through. We don’t know, for example, if someone has been struggling in their personal life, recently lost a job or had a marital breakdown and being with friends is their only relief.
At the same time, it is perfectly natural to feel angry, especially after following the rules only to see others in groups outside on the beach or not maintaining physical distances. And many of us, especially women, are taught to keep feelings of anger suppressed. But ignoring such feelings can make them stronger and cause stress and anxiety. Instead, remind yourself that the feelings of anger are normal, as long as you are not lashing out at others. By recognizing the angry feelings and where they are coming from, we can reduce the chance we react in a negative and destructive way.
Try to focus instead on channeling the anger towards something more productive. Rather than publicly shaming that shopper who wears their mask on their chin, write an email to the corporation or the city council or the newspaper to promote more consistent enforcement of rules. If you feel a strong need to speak to the offending shopper, try to start off on a positive note acknowledging the nuisance of having to wear a mask and asking them to put it on correctly. Smile with your eyes and use a friendly tone of voice. It goes farther than confrontation.
Many of our clients find that talking over their feelings of anger, stress and anxiety with a counsellor can really make a difference. Strategies to maintain a feeling of calm and ways to really reduce stress and anxiety really do work. At Waypoint Counselling, we have counsellors based in Kelowna and also counsellors throughout BC who are available for online counselling via phone or video.
Don’t know which counsellor to try? We can help match you with a suitable counsellor for your unique needs. Contact us, we are here to help.