10 ways to manage anxiety and take care of yourself in these times
The current worldwide pandemic has affected us all in more ways than one. Companies have shut down, people have lost their jobs, many have lost family members, some are ill, away from their families and loved ones, schools are closed, no one can find any toilet paper – no wonder we’re all stressed.
I understand that these are unusual times which call for unusual measures, but I also know that it is important that we find a sense of normalcy. We need to find a way to make the burden easier on ourselves, and take care of ourselves not just physically, but also mentally. Here are a few things that I think might help:
- Unplug: I know you want to stay updated with all that’s happening, but staying glued to the news can do more harm than good. Take some time each day to unplug from it all – no TV, no Twitter, just take some time to breathe and be in the moment. Or find other things to occupy your time.
- Find community: If you’re sheltered-in-place with other people, it’s a great time to get to know one other again. Spend some time connecting and re-discovering your relationship. If you’re by yourself, call other people. Do video chats – just find ways to connect with other humans; connection reminds us that we are not alone in how we feel, and that considerably lightens the load. If you’re locked-down with kids and you’re having a rough time, all I can offer you is hugs. Hang in there; we’ll get through this.
- Be thankful for the little things: Being thankful improves your outlook on life. It shifts your perspective, reminds you of all that is important, all that you have despite all that you do not have.
- Laugh more. Watch comedy specials, cartoons, movies, things that take your mind off the heaviness of what’s happening.
- Get creative: write, sing, paint – find an outlet for all the thoughts running around in your head. I find that creative expression helps organize your thoughts and clear up some of the clutter in your mind.
- Pick up new habits: That book you’ve been meaning to read, that’s been sitting on your bookshelf collecting dust for two years now? This is a good time to read it. Listen to podcasts, or learn how to do something new on YouTube. Try your hands at baking, woodwork, or makeup – take this time to get outside of your everyday routine and discover new things about yourself and the world around you.
- Exercise: It has been proven that exercise is great for your mental health. Make time in your day for physical exercise. Take a walk, stretch, practice Yoga – just make sure you move. If you prefer, you can use exercise apps like NTC and Fiton.
- Create a schedule (and stick to it): Schedules are very useful for balance and helping us be in control of how we spend our time. Make an outline of what you want to accomplish each day and set a time frame for everything. You don’t have to do everything, but having a plan goes a long way in making things seem normal.
- Mind your relationship with food: Try not to eat because you’re bored, anxious, or stressed. Drink lots of water and eat healthy snacks. I’m not saying to eat celery sticks and carrots all the time, but make eat it most of the time.
- Get enough sleep. I’m reading a book about the benefits of sleep and boy, humans need to sleep a lot more. Getting enough (7-8 recommended hours daily for adults) sleep enables your body and mind to function at optimal capacity and reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Bonus: Help others. If you can, donate to organizations that feed school children, work to provide relief for those who have lost their jobs or those who need shelter. If you have elderly or immuno-compromised people around you, check on them to see if there’s anything you can do to help them. Don’t forget to stay 6 feet away.