We’re living through extraordinarily stressful times. Whether we’re home, briefly out or on the front lines as essential employees, it can be hard to stay calm. But being prepared with coping mechanisms can help keep you grounded when stress starts to get the best of you. From taking a break from the news to taking it one day at a time, we’ve rounded up seven ways to manage anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis.
Take care of yourself
To help cope with daily challenges, you need to take care of yourself, physically and mentally. Try to eat well and exercise – even just a good stretch or a walk outside can give you a boost. Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling. If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, the National Alliance on Mental Health’s COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide offers detailed information and resources on where to get help.
Connect with others
Science proves that social support can relieve psychological stress. That’s why it’s so important we connect with others. FaceTime family or an old friend. Get a group video “happy hour” going with friends. Call some coworkers to see how they’re doing. Post a video of your dog doing zoomies around your house. Laugh and have some fun. While it’s challenging to be social when we’re practicing social distancing, there’s still plenty of ways to stay connected to others from home.
Step back from the news
With the entire world grappling with COVID-19, it’s easy to get sucked into a never-ending news cycle. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s also important to give yourself a break. This includes social media, which can often be a source of stress. Perhaps limit yourself to checking the news twice a day or hide or unfollow people or organizations that trigger anxiety. You may find yourself feeling better immediately.
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Take it one day at a time
Thinking about all the days to come – time spend indoors, the months without school, without seeing friends and family in person – can be overwhelming. The remedy is simpler than you think, and something your mother may have told you once or twice: Take it one day at a time. Get through today. Then get through tomorrow. Each day will bring its own challenges and its own rewards. But thinking about all the days put together will only overwhelm you.
Go easy on yourself
You’re not going to be super-productive every day. You may not be providing the most “enriching” quarantine experience for your kids. And your meals may not be fancy. But you know what? It’s ok. This is not the time to pressure yourself to deep clean the house or write the Great American Novel. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You’re doing the best you can. All that matters right now is that you’re safe, healthy and that your loved ones are safe and healthy, too.
Try to focus on the positive
It’s hard to imagine any positives in our current situation. But there are a few. You may be reaching out to friends and family more, strengthening relationships or rekindling ones that have fallen by the wayside. You’re may also be developing healthy new financial habits. You’re cooking meals at home, and brewing coffee (or experimenting with café-style coffee drinks) at home as well. These changes can have a positive impact on your budget – and you may find yourself sticking to them when you’re back to your normal routine.
Find healthy ways to de-stress
It’s important to develop healthy coping mechanisms to combat your anxiety. Any kind of exercise or meditation can help relieve stress. Talking to friends, family or a therapist – many of whom are available via text and video chat – is always a good idea. The important thing is finding what works for you. It may be as simple as a movie, favorite TV show or some podcasts while you do housework.
We’re in this together
This is a stressful time. But we’re all experiencing it together. Be mindful of your anxiety and try your best to take steps to alleviate it. You’ll have good days and bad days. And that’s ok. Please visit OMF.com/HeretoHelp to connect with resources that may help you – and check back often as our national situation evolves.