In my last blog I discussed some common worries we are all experiencing related to this pandemic of COVID-19. I wanted to normalize our feelings during this time. When I talk about a problem (anxiety), I always like to follow up with solutions. Since we discussed what is bothering us, let's talk about how to decrease, get rid of or distract ourselves, from these feelings. So let's jump into problem-solving mode.
Tips to decrease anxiety related to COVID-19:
-We are in this together!
This is one of the most considerable things that has helped me during this time. When I think... I am not the only one going through this, it tends to help bring my anxiety down and gives me a sense of calmness. “I am not the only one not working,”; “I am not the only one bored,”; “I am not the only one who is stuck inside”.
-Believe that there is an ending to this.
This too shall pass. This will not last forever. Yes, our lives might look a little different than it was before. Yes, we may very well have to change some things within our lifestyles. We as human beings are resilient. Change can be difficult, change can be hard, but we can do it. As a community, as a society, as a planet, we can adjust because we ARE resilient.
-Make a list.
Write down things you want to get done during this time of quarantine. Prioritize those lists. Make a list of FUN things. We tend to think since we are stuck in our house, we MUST get everything done that we’ve been putting off. It is good to want to be productive, however, let’s have some fun while we are at it! Get creative!
-Don’t judge yourself.
Don't judge yourself for what you are doing during this time. Refer back to your lists and leave the rest.
-Limit your news time.
Limit your time on the news channels, social media pages, etc. Listen, we all want to know about what’s going on and how we can protect ourselves, what’s going on with the lockdown, etc., but that won’t change every 30 minutes. Limit your research and news watching to once or twice a day. Put it on your schedule. Don’t leave the television on the news channel and have it playing all day in the background. The more we read/watch about this virus, the more stressed out we become, and this can lead to panic. This is also important for the next tip.
-Don’t spread your anxiety to others.
Do not carry your anxieties about the virus to your children (or other family members who tend to struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Educate your children, but don’t stress them out. This is much more confusing for them than it is for you. Be supportive and let them ask questions, however, don’t let them see you panicking. If we panic, they will stress out as well. Kids can’t do schoolwork or have fun when they are stressed out.
-Notice you do have some control.
Recognize what you do have control over in this situation and what you do not. This may help with leaving some of your anxieties behind. Make a list if it helps. That way you can refer to it when you’re feeling extra anxious.
Make a list of why you are grateful for this time of quarantine, (i.e. spending more time with my kids, being forced to relax since I’ve been putting it off, finally getting to clean out the garage that I’ve been too busy to do, and so on).
Refer to my previous blog for some self-care tips.
I hope that this list helps you during this time. Remember to take care of your mental health, especially during this time.
During this time, I will only be conducting Telehealth sessions and phone sessions. Telehealth is basically the same concept as Face Timing or Skyping where you have therapy in the comfort of your own home, with internet access. I also offer regular phone sessions if this is a better fit for you. If you’d like to make an appointment with me, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Also, let me know if you have more ideas… we can never have too many!
Take care of yourselves, make smart choices, & be kind to one another.