Ways to Manage Anxiety During the Pandemic
As a person who suffers from anxiety, I’ve been working on ways to keep calm and charge ahead productively and calmly during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know I am not alone and want to share all of my practices with you. I got the idea for this blog from this MSN article “12 Expert-Approved Ways to Manage Coronavirus Anxiety” and decided to include a few of my own ways to manage anxiety during the pandemic.
1) Stop reading and Watching the News
It is rare than any positive news is shared right now. Remember that these new stations are making money from covering the pandemic and keeping you tuned in. Not that they aren’t giving you accurate information, but they won’t be covering anything else for a while. They want the readership and the views. I found that when I read online articles or watched the news shows, my anxiety levels would quickly rise and follow me throughout the day. I am helpless to what is going on with the spread of the virus and doing my part by staying home in quarantine. Instead, read some of these inspiring books that I shared in my favorite books of 2020.
2) Do Something You Love
Every morning I wake up, make my coffee and then go out on to my patio to water and tend to my plants. This little morning routine brings me such peace and serenity and sets my day off in the right direction. I’ve also been trying new recipes with items I can find in my kitchen. I rekindled my love of these banana bread muffins last week and next want to try these apple strawberry cream cheese breakfast pastries! You can find a LOT of new recipes by following me on my Pinterest page.
3) Set a Routine and a Schedule
I work from home and have a large to-do list. To give my days structure and be as productive as possible, I write a to-do list the night before starting with my first priorities and trickling down into smaller priorities. I give myself lunch and a snack break and then an hour do “do something fun” such as stretch, watch tv, bake, etc. Each item on my list has a time limit of 30 minutes to an hour. Then as I go about my day, I get to cross out the items I’ve accomplished. It is a fun game I play trying to get ahead of schedule and keep up when I get behind. That way I am not aimlessly looking at my to-do list and trying to figure out “what to do next.” I already know what I need to do next and do not get to push it to the wayside for something else.
Even for just 5 or 10 minutes a day can help calm your nerves. I love apps such as Calm and Headspace. You can listen to them right from your phone and they both have free meditation guides to follow. Meditation helps you get in tune with your mind and slow it down. Try it out and see. I like to do mine whenever I find a quiet moment sitting on the floor or lying in bed.
5) Practice Deep Breathing + Journal
This goes along with meditation, exercising and stretching. If you feel yourself getting anxious, take a few calm, deep breaths, refocus, or focus on something else for a while. I also like to let all of my thoughts out into a journal. You can do an online journal like Penzu or find an old notebook to start channeling your thoughts, dreams, and fears on to the page.
6) Find a Hobby
The best solution for quarantine is to find a hobby. Something to take your mind off what is happening out in the world and a place for you to escape to. For me, my hobbies include home decor, cooking, gardening on my patio and now a bathroom renovation that I am very excited to get started on so that I can have a tub again and take baths! Perhaps you would like to get into something like home decor and start your own Amazon storefront? Now is the time and here is a link to mine!
I recently shared 45 fun activities to do at home while in quarantine. Here is a list of 150 Hobby ideas broken down by interests and personality. Enjoy!
A 20-30 minute at-home workout or even just stretching brings you back in tune with your body. And a little sweat never hurt anybody! Going for a walk in the evening around the neighborhood is super helpful as well. Seeing other families out and about reminds us that we are all in this together. The fresh air and being in nature are excellent for the mind, body, and soul. See my post on 5 steps to a healthier lifestyle here.
8) Avoid Alcohol + Narcotics
This is a question only you can answer. If alcohol or other substances like marijuana can increase your anxiety, then it is best to stay away from them. I’m not an emotional drinker, I’ll have a glass to wind down. But I don’t need to drown my sorrows in a bottle. Nor do I want the hangover the next day. Know yourself and react accordingly.
9) Don’t Count the Days
I am not keeping track of the days we are in quarantine. Instead, I keep myself busy. Last month I prepared for the worst that we would be in quarantine until April 30th, so when it was extended until the end of April it did not come as a shock. Now I’m prepared for it to go mid-summer. If it does, at least it’s not in the dead of winter, and if it doesn’t we have all the more reason to celebrate with backyard BBQs and trips to the beach.
10) See an Acupuncturist
I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist for over 4 years now and after each session, I feel more hopeful, calm and in tune with my body. If you’ve never tried acupuncture before, just know that finding a good acupuncturist is like finding a good doctor. You find a person you vibe with and who understands you. It may not be the first person you go to, so just be patient and read reviews. I go to acupuncture before I go to my primary doctor for most things. This is because many times, she will work on the root cause of the problem with me (diet, lifestyle changes, balancing my body.) I prefer to try a more natural approach before I go towards prescription drugs offered by western medicine doctors. Of course, there are some things that require prescriptions and acupuncture can help in conjunction. Give it a try and see what you think.
11) Try to See the Positive + Be Grateful
It is a scary time for many. And yet, there is also a silver lining. Communities are coming together, people are helping each other and spending more time with family and loved ones. We are becoming more aware of our surroundings, our impact on the planet and all that we may have taken for granted before. (Abundance of toilet paper, not having to stand in line at the grocery store, our health, our jobs.) Try to make a list of all the things you’ll never take for granted again when all of this is over.
Do you have any practices that help manage your anxiety during this pandemic that you would like to share? Please DM me on Instagram or leave a comment below!
Photo by Taylor Lynn Photo