Ways to Cope with Anxiety During Covid
A pandemic is a scary and stressful situation. It is not something that we planned for or have a handbook on how to manage. We had our normal stressful lives and then added shelter in place, jobs changing or being gone, financial concerns, educating our kids at home, worrying if you caught the virus, and not being able to go out to socialize or do activities. Mental health for ourselves and others has become a very real issue during this. The two most common things I am hearing from people is feeling more "anxious" or feeling more "depressed". To help many of my clients, I created a list of 20 ways to help cope during Covid. I hope you can find some that will help you.
Here is a flyer I made with the below tips if you'd like to put them up somewhere to help you daily.
Stay Active - Make it a daily habit to get in some type of physical activity. Exercise releases endorphins that can make us feel good. If you aren't sure what to do some ideas are walking, biking, virtual classes with gyms, hiking, YouTube workout videos, gardening, and swimming. If trying to figure out what and when to exercise is causing you more anxiety, reach out to a personal trainer, or find an online program that can give you guidance.
Turn Off Devices - Set a cut off time for phones, computers, emails, news, etc. I would also recommend wearing blue blocker glasses in the evening as well when you are on devices.
Get Enough Sleep - Lack of sleep directly impacts our anxiety levels. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
Say No! - It is absolutely ok to say no to extra work, extra responsibilities, virtual meetups, taking courses because someone said you should use this time for education, feeling like a bad mom, etc. Say no to anything that is destroying your mental health during this time. If what is harming your mental health is something you can't say no to, then it's time to seriously look at whatever that situation is.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet - Make sure to eat protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats daily. Eat your daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Processed foods and sugars can increase anxiety in some people.
Stay Hydrated - The general rule is to have 8 - eight oz glasses of water daily.
Cut Down on Alcohol - Alcohol and anxiety are not friends.
Cut Down on Caffeine - Try to cut down to only 1-2 cups of a caffeinated drink daily and have that at the start of your day.
Find a Support Network - If you are blessed to have friends and family that you are able to share your stress, fears, and anxiety with, lean on them. If you don't, there are some great Facebook groups that you can find support in. Many medical organizations like Kaiser, offers group coping classes.
Create a Schedule
Find a Hobby - Reading, art, projects, gardening, bird watching, and writing are a few ideas but look for something that brings you joy.
Journaling - You can journal in many different ways but I find it helpful to start each day with how I'm feeling physically/emotionally/mentally, a single goal for the day, and something I accomplished the day before.
Use Essential Oils or Calming Music - Smells and sounds can help us relax.
Declutter Your Space
Get Up, Make Your Bed, & Get Dressed Daily
Take Breaks From Work - Step away from your job for 15 minutes during the day. Stand up, stretch, and think about things besides work. You will come back more refreshed and with a clearer mindset.
Self Care - Take time for you and care for yourself.
Acknowledge Your Emotions - Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling each day. Emotions aren't bad.
Reach Out to Your Doctor - Talk to your doctor and ask for help. Many providers offer virtual therapy and groups that can help teach coping skills.
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or any mental health issues, please seek help. You can always call 911, there is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1(800) 273-TALK (8255), and MentalHealth.gov It may seem like a dark hole right now, but there is hope.