It’s such a stressful time right now with COVID-19 making its way through the world. Kids are home from school, for at least a few weeks. Many people aren’t able to work and can’t make ends meet without a weekly paycheck. Most businesses have shut down and we are being advised to stay home. Our usual, comfortable, consistent routine has been disrupted.
There’s a lot of uncertainty and with that comes A LOT of fear.
I know that I have been struggling with making the right choices for myself and my family. Trying to decipher what is genuine or exaggerated by the media. Balancing the panic with levelheadedness. Wondering the rate at which I should count to 20. Trying not to take it personal when individuals who are kind under normal circumstances let their fear turn them into judgmental know-it-alls. Picking myself up after being thrown to the floor while trying to grab the last roll of toilet paper off the grocery store shelf. Okay, the last sentence was for dramatic effect only... although people are fighting over toilet paper. Toilet paper folks.
I thought I would add something positive and hopefully helpful for those of you who could use a little calm in your lives.
5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety
Don’t watch the news 24/7.
While it’s necessary to be connected to what’s going on, being inundated with non-stop COVID-19 will make you overwhelmed and anxious. Even when there isn’t a virus creeping around, I recommend limiting watching or reading the news. It’s depressing and some of it isn’t true. A brief daily check-in will do. There are better ways to spend your time.
Limit social media.
Be picky about what you are reading. Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of social media under normal circumstances, so I may sound a bit harsh. Like the news, it’s just TOO MUCH. You are being flooded with information and bonus… you also get Susie down the roads two cents. Or Aunt Freida’s take on why the government is infecting us with COVID-19. Or my personal favorite, the pointless posts about how your friend from 20 years ago is spending his time while at home, what his meals look like, the hilarious thing his cat did… you know who I’m talking about. The next thing you know, you’ve spent two hours on Facebook and are left feeling overwhelmed and confused.
On the other hand, as humans we need to be around other people and social media is a great way to stay connected during this time of seclusion. So keep in touch. Just limit who you connect with. Look for what makes you smile and get rid of the rest.
Watch a funny movie.
Laughing makes you feel better. Watch a movie, do something silly, talk to a friend, whatever makes you giggle. This feel good expression reduces stress and anxiety. If you have a sense of humor, life will become a lot more enjoyable.
Stuck at home with your kids? You need some silence to recharge. Being a proud introvert, I am quite familiar with the value of quiet, but many folks are afraid of the silence. Time alone with your thoughts? Eeeek, terrifying. Try and fight that voice inside your head that says you must have distractions. Having just 30 minutes to yourself can help you relax and slow down your thoughts. Silence can improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, and boost your immune system. There are so many benefits to silence that I can’t list them all in this post. You can read more about how quiet helps anxiety here.
You might not be able to get to the gym right now, but if you can move your body, you can exercise. Take a walk outside (bonus: being outdoors helps anxiety), lift weights, do body resistance exercises, or yoga. Put on some music and dance around the house. Anything that gets you moving will help you to feel better. Exercise stimulates the release of serotonin, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and endocannabinoids which helps to reduce anxiety and improve mood. Some studies have shown that exercise works better than medication at improving mood. So get moving!
I hope this list of ways to reduce anxiety helps to calm the chaos.
If you feel like you need support or would like someone to talk to, please reach out! I provide online therapy so you can begin to feel better without leaving home. I’d love to chat. Be well!