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If your anxiety has increased since the arrival COVID-19, you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one worrying that you or your loved ones might get sick or that changes in the economy will cause you to lose your job, for instance.
These worries make sense. This is something completely new, and the outcome is unclear. And it’s mostly out of our individual control. These are sources for real anxiety. But they don’t need to hinder you and there are easy ways to help ease the stress while in social isolation.
Keep your day structured
If you are stuck at home this can really help. Having a structured day can lower anxiety. Also make sure to normalise your day. Get dressed in nice(r) clothes, brush your hair, shower.
Whatever you normally would do, still do it, even if you don’t have to. Furthermore, If you are stuck in the house with people, make sure to rotate between social and alone time.
Schedule time for relaxation
Take scheduled breaks throughout the day to focus on relaxation. Practice deep breathing, stretch, go for a walk, draw, call a friend, whatever it is that helps you relax. Here are some resources with lists of coping skills, or ways to decrease stress:
Schedule time to be anxious
That’s right, put aside a set amount of time during which you will address worries. Take a planned time out of your day to catch up on news and focus on problems related to COVID-19. This is your time to think about the virus, get updates, and solve problems that have developed as a result of COVID-19.
In other words, this is scheduled time for freaking out about the ‘caronapocalypse’. However you have to choose not to think about it the rest of the day.
Instead, the rest of the day you can focus on daily tasks, like work, parenting, and being mindful of what is going on in the present.
Check in with a friend
It’s likely they are anxious too. Go old-school and make it a phone or video call. Calls are more personal, which might alleviate the stress of loneliness.
Use positive self-talk
Here are some statements that might help. Remember that all these positive statements are by far the most likely outcomes.
- I will be OK.
- The people I love will be OK
- I will adapt to these changes successfully
- COVID-19 will soon be a memory; it wont last forever.
- I have handled tough things before, and I can do it again.
If you feel like these are not enough, it might be time contact a mental health provider
Online therapy was a thing before COVID-19. It’s a great opportunity to connect with a professional and get individualised help. If you are feeling totally overwhelmed and considering hurting yourself or others, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Image credit: Freepik
Dr Meghan Colley is a licensed clinical psychologist from Indianapolis. You can connect with her on Twitter @TheShr1nk.
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