5 ways to Manage Anxiety during the Pandemic.
With so many changes constantly going on in the world there is relentless uncertainty, which can be difficult to manage and cause anxiety, even if you don’t typically experience anxiety.
Learning how to respond to anxiety is the key to reducing the overwhelming feelings you have and manage daily stressors.
Managing anxiety during a pandemic
1. Make a Schedule
Create a schedule for yourself or your family. This is helpful for everyone, those who have more freedom being home all the time to those who have more responsibilities with kids being home for school. Think about the things you need to do each week and create a plan. Knowing when you are going to do activities can be helpful to reduce uncertainty.
A few things to think about for your schedule are sleep, breaks, play, work, cleaning and errands. Set realistic expectations and highlight your top essential tasks for the day or week. You can make a weekly list of things I need to do, things I should do and things to do if I get time.
If you have anxiety about a task, plan for them or self-care after them. If you have anxiety about grocery shopping, try to go early in the morning, order online for pick-up or have them delivered.
2. Take a Social Media break
There is so much going on in the world and you need to make sure you take time to recharge before absorbing more information.
3. Ask yourself: What is in my Control?
It is important to know what is in your control and what is not. Focus on what is in your control, such as where you go, who you talk to, what you watch, what you eat and your own health. You are not in control of what others do but you are in control of your response to them.
Think about what you would do if you come across someone not wearing a mask in a store, you can walk away, tell a store employee, tell them off, hand them a mask or other options, but I want you to think about what option is going to cause you the least amount of anxiety and to stay focused on what you are in control of, yourself.
4. Authentic Connections
With social distancing you might be feeling lonely or missing connections with friends, family, and the world around you. Look into ways that you feel safe connecting with people or joining groups. While phone calls can be great to keep in touch with others; you can also connect with people easier these days with video chats that increase your ability to have a more genuine connection.
Consider the things you enjoyed doing before the pandemic. Many local places like aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, museums, or other organizations are hosting online group events, with it being online you can look anywhere in the world.
5. Start a Gratitude Journal
It is helpful to start and end your day with gratitude and positive thoughts. Keeping a journal by your bedside and writing 3 things you are grateful for in your life in the morning and 3 things about your day you are grateful for at night. Research shows taking time out of your day to reflect on what you are grateful for helps reduce anxiety, therefore the important thing is to take time out of your day to reflect on what you are grateful for whenever you can fit it in; try putting it in your schedule.
Morning gratitude: Morning walks, Hot cup of tea, My video chats with my friend
Evening reflections of gratitude: I did a meditation, I finished 2 things on my work to do list,
I cooked a healthy dinner
If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, try these tips or seek more support either online, from your support system or professional help. Be kind to yourself and it is OK to feel overwhelmed, even more so, it is normal to be feeling overwhelmed right now. I encourage you to put your mental health first.
Take a moment and identify: What are 3 things you are grateful for?
Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.
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