How to Cope with Anxiety Surrounding COVID-19

covid anxiety

These are unprecedented times. They feel a little crazy and surreal, yet as we are now realizing—so very necessary. Our worlds have been turned upside down—jobs are being done at home, kids are being homeschooled, our lifestyles have been put on hold. All of this while a global health crisis threatens to enter our homes and cause harm to our families, our financial situations, our lives as we know them. It is undoubtedly scary and can stir up a lot of anxious feelings. 

What are some ways you can cope with stress and change during these (and other) unprecedented times? 

1.) Take it a day at a time — Things are changing so rapidly it can be hard to keep up. Rather than worry about what tomorrow will look like, try to keep your focus on today. What work do you have to get accomplished? What projects are your kids going to do? What is for dinner? Things will feel less overwhelming if you break it down into hours or minutes, rather than days, weeks, months. 

2.) Find new ways to connect — Connection is so important. No one was built to stay isolated. We need interaction and human connection. We need a good, healthy conversation and a laugh or two. But, how are we supposed to do that and stay socially distanced? Technology can be a great tool. Utilize free conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts and meet with friends through the safety of your couch. Instead of just doing your typical group texts do a group facetime call with friends.  Have your kids send a letter or email to a penpal. There are a lot of ways to connect without being in the same space. 

3.) Keep routines — Routines provide a sense of normalcy for our days. Providing some kind of consistency for yourself and your family members can help to ease anxiety. Maybe that means instead of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the gym, you wake up at 6:30 a.m. and do a workout video. 

4.) Focus on what you CAN control — There is so much out of control right now, but there are also things we can control. Instead of stressing over the things that we can’t control, focus on what you can. You control your self-care and health practices. Use the extra time at home to ramp up your exercise routine or practice healthy eating (less temptation to eat out can have benefits). Do some projects around the home that you have been avoiding because you have been too busy. Play a game with your kids. Watch a movie as a family. You can control how you spend your time. 

5.) Give yourself some grace — As I said before, these times are unprecedented. You aren’t expected to be ready. You don’t have to know what to do. It is ok to be upset, anxious, scared, stressed. Your feelings are valid. If you need a day where the kids get extra screen time and you binge-watch Netflix. It is ok. Cut yourself some slack. Be gentle with yourself. 

6.) Keep things in perspective — We are taking these measures because they are necessary to the health of our country. Are we are all going to end up hospitalized? Absolutely not. Are things never going to the same? All things lead us to believe, this is a temporary set back. 

7.) Set limits on media — Everywhere you look it’s all about the virus. It can easily become overwhelming. Be careful to set limits for yourself. Turn off the TV. Only check the media when necessary. Be mindful of when you feel anxious and overwhelmed and change to something else. 

We will get through this challenging time together. Lean on each other. Call each other. Reach out for help. At Wellness Psychological Services we are currently operating as a telehealth practice to keep everyone safe while still delivering the highest level of therapeutic treatment. We have openings to see patients virtually through video telehealth platforms. Contact us today for more information.

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