In light of what’s going on worldwide right now, life can feel out of control, and many of us could use a few simple strategies to cope with our rising anxiety.
Watching the news, feeling the rising fear, seeing people hoarding necessities, and the increasing worry we have for the health of our loved ones are all anxiety triggers, even for the most Zen among us.
Above all, let’s not judge each other but instead find ways to be compassionate, calm ourselves, and offer whatever help, comfort, and reassurance we can to others.
Here are five strategies that can help you handle the anxiety you may be feeling at this time (read the full list of 13 strategies here).
- Stop, Breathe, Refocus.
Catching yourself as your anxiety is escalating is super important and the most important tip of all. Noticing when your mind is creating future outcomes not based on reality is the red flag to stop yourself. Take a few deep, slow breaths. And help yourself refocus on more productive thoughts.
- Take (Sensible) Action.
If you know you need to have 90 days of medication for yourself or your loved one to feel calmer, then figure out how to get it so you can get a better handle on your anxiety. If you can’t destress without knowing you have a month’s supply of Ensure in your pantry, then find a way to get it. Talk to friends who may each be able to buy these items while they are already out doing their shopping, or try ordering products online for delivery to your home. Connect with a friend who may be having the same challenge and discuss the situation. Two minds sometimes are better than one. Plus, talking with a friend is comforting.
You are smart, capable, and creative – you have been through difficult challenges before. You can take action, and you will figure this out.
- Move Your Body.
Sitting and stewing at your desk, on your couch, in the car, is unhealthy. It creates stress and anxiety that taxes your heart, circulation, immune system, and mind.
Find ways to move your body while keeping a safe distance from groups. Take a walk and feel the sunshine on your skin. Dust off the treadmill you’ve been using as a clothing rack, or go online and find a workout video you may enjoy. Taking care of your body with exercise is part of staying well and being better able to handle a crisis.
- Up Your Closeness (while still social distancing)
Call, text, skype or facetime with loved ones a little more than usual. I have two kids who are over 1,000 miles away from me during this pandemic. I can instantly raise my blood pressure, give myself a panic-induced stomachache, and get myself in a frenzy worrying about them during this pandemic. I know this about myself (and maybe this is you too). So, I’ve verbalized to them that I may need a little extra contact during this time to stay calm. I explained to them that although they think it’s ridiculous to worry (ah, youth!), I need a few extra texts or phone calls here and there to reassure myself that they are ok. Reach out to your loved ones and friends if you need more frequent reassurance right now.
If you’re feeling anxious, it’s helpful to keep things as simple as possible. Do the simple stuff you already know helps to calm and ground you. Get enough sleep, exercise, read (not news), listen to music, go outdoors, walk your dog, bake, do yoga, whatever it is. Build those simple calming grounding activities into your day. While the rest of life seems off balance right now, you have those simple things that are familiar and comforting to keep you feeling like you do have some control over things.
There are loads of books, resources, and apps for learning more about mindfulness and helpful mindset tools. Try a free app to ease you into making mindfulness a daily habit. Or even simpler, just a few minutes of closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and inviting calm and peace into your mind can lower your stress and anxiety level.
Remind yourself that worry and anxiety solve absolutely nothing except to make us feel worse.
We have been through much. Always remember we are strong and capable. We will get through this.
Sending you virtual (germ-free) anti-anxiety hug.
For the full story with 13 tips to help reduce stress during this pandemic: https://cheers2chapter2.com/tips-on-how-to-handle-anxiety-during-this-pandemic