Coronavirus is causing unprecedented disruption across the country and in many countries around the world. Our daily routines are under threat to our health and the health of others. The level of anxiety is on the rise not just among those who are prone to anxiety but even among those who usually don’t have a problem with anxieties. How to reduce stress in these chaotic times? How to find a balance between panic and preparation? How to deal with coronavirus anxiety?
If you are staying home or working from home, be mindful of the routines that you can control such as exercise and sleep. Now more than ever it’s time for self-care and its a good time to focus on activities that keep us calm and grounded. You might be tempted to stay awake late at night (after all you don’t have to wake up that early) or you will defiantly forget about your gym membership for this month, which is understandable. Still, you can exercise from home and you should go to bed at your usual time. For your immune system to stay strong, you need to prioritize moving your body, sleeping, and resting.
This is the time when you need to be mindful of stress and make sure you meditate regularly or notice how tight your neck and jaw is now. Relax, lay down on the ground and slow down your breathing. This is crucial for those who are dealing with anxieties. Meditation can be your savior if you are anxious about what’s going on in the world. Limit your exposure to media and rely only on reliable sources for information. Th media is not good at finding the sweet spot between panic and preparation. Protect yourself from falling into the abyss of information where many sources are not reliable. Limit yourself to only 10 minutes of news every two hours. Hide people on social media feed who are prone to posting dubiously-sourced articles. Boundaries are more important than ever to keep you healthy and less anxious.
Also, even though everyone is talking about social distancing, it’s important to not feel and become isolated. We shouldn’t cut ourselves completely from others and from significant emotional support that we all need in times like these. Emotional support helps us to cope and to reduce blood pressure. Stay in touch with everyone you usually would by using Face Time or messaging, calling others. Find meaningful ways to stay connected with those you love even if you are not seeing them as you usually would. A sense of connection and community is very important (and we don’t mean clicking the like button on someone’s photo). We are all in this together and we should support each other.
Don’t let catastrophic thinking come as truth to you. In these uncertain times, you might start thinking that you might lose your job. After all, you have no idea how long this might last. The uncertainty makes us drastically distort the way we see the world to the point that we believe that our catastrophic thinking is the truth. Observe your thoughts and don’t think they are accurate. There are all kinds of biases making us accept negative information.
Keep the familiar routines in place where you can. To protect yourself from anxieties it’s important to have a sense of control and predictability that can reduce the level of stress. Your life might have changed drastically, you are not going to work, your kids are staying home and you are not gathering at your usual meeting places. Even though life has changed, remember that things will eventually go back to normal.