7 Tips for Managing Anxiety in the Age of Coronavirus
Managing anxiety can be a challenge as the responsibilities of life stack up. But it’s even worse when the comforts of life take a back seat to harsh and uncertain times like those brought on by the wrath of Coronavirus.
In the following article, we’re going to be hitting on a lot of tips for managing anxiety that are especially prescient in the here-and-now. That said, keep all of these in mind even when the country starts to reopen. Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Sleep Well
The first and most important thing you can do if you feel these uncertain times getting the best of you is to schedule your sleep more productively. We don’t recommend getting hooked on a medication, but you may want to talk with your doctor if you’ve tried everything and you’re not getting anywhere.
Before it comes to that, however, start using a sleep calculator to “guess” at your REM cycles. If you can awaken at the end of one, then you’ll wake up feeling much more rested than you would otherwise. Of course, to get the most out of it, you’ll need to know the approximate amount of time it takes you to fall asleep once the lights are out and your head is on the pillow.
If it’s 15 minutes (the average), just add 15 to the optimum wake-up time for the minute you go to bed. If it’s 30, add 30. Striving to be as accurate as you possibly can will eventually help you understand the true numbers, and it’ll get easier and easier to time your alarm with the body’s natural sleep rhythms.
2. Focus on the Next 24 Hours
Even now that many states are eyeing an end to the lockdown (May 4th has been an oft-repeated date in states where the numbers haven’t been as catastrophic), there are no guarantees that we will avoid a second outbreak. That makes the future more uncertain than ever before. So much so, that playing the long game is a recipe for disaster.
You can’t know for sure when things will get “back to normal,” and even the dates being circulated are quite a way off. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you look too far ahead on the calendar, and all you’re really given is today anyway.
The best thing to do is to start living your life 24 hours at a time with a glint of optimism that the whole process might eventually come to a close. Bottom line: if you can make the next 24 hours successful, then you’ll end up logging more good days than bad.
3. Engage in Self-Care
What does self-care mean? The technical (and obvious) definition is that you take care of you. But “taking care of you” means different things to different people. For some people, it’s going for a run. For others, it’s a bike ride or online shopping or reading a book.
Find a form of self-care that comports to the current restrictions of life. If that means wine and a bubble bath, go for it. Just don’t put yourself at further risk in doing whatever you need to do to improve the situation that your anxiety is creating.
Should it start to be too much, do anything you can within law and health requirements that will take your mind off it. Make a list of what those things are so you’ll always have them at-the-ready whenever anxiety starts creeping in.
4. Shut Off the News
It’s good to be informed of the things that may be of importance to you, but news moves on a 24-hour, 7-day-per-week cycle now with a lot of repetition and a lot of needless doom-and-gloom. Stop thinking that being informed will save you from disaster. It’s actually causing the emotional turmoil around you.
Instead of clicking on every fear-mongering headline that pops up in your feed, give yourself a brief amount of time each day to check headlines on a few trusted outlets. Keep in mind that the news is no longer unbiased, and you’ll have to draw your own conclusions about where the truth lies by reading in between the differing headlines.
Once you have an idea of what’s going on, shut down the news feed and focus on living your life. Practice the safety tips that experts are sharing and keep to yourself. Too much “news” is not good for your outlook or your anxiety.
5. Make Grocery Shopping Fun
In the age of the pandemic, there are not many places you can go to get away from the isolation. The grocery store is an oasis. You can go there to buy food, beverages, desserts, office supplies, or books and magazines. Don’t make any more trips than you have to, but do make the most of those trips!
Take joy in the fact that you’re getting to participate in some component of the economy and life as it was and will be again. Buy yourself a treat when you’re out handling normal grocery store business. Thank the people who work there for doing their jobs in uncertain time. Let it be a chance to treat yourself, exercise, and spread good cheer.
6. Maintain Your Connections With Others
Getting through a situation like quarantine is difficult if you’re a people-person, but it also can be challenging for introverts. We all need human connection, to varying degrees. When you’re cut off from that or limited to the same people day-in and day-out, you don’t get enough of the variety of human contact that you need to be a well-rounded person.
Therefore, do everything in your power to maintain the connections that you have. If you have to schedule virtual happy hours or FaceTime dates, do it. Text, call, do whatever you have to do.
7. Talk It Out
There are many people going through this pandemic with you. We all need a listening ear. If you feel like the anxiety is creeping in, make sure you have someone with whom you can ruminate. If you don’t, then talk it out with yourself. You can do that by journaling, talking into an audio or video recorder. No one ever has to see what you have to say. It’s just a vehicle to get your anxiety and insecurities out of your head.
Managing Anxiety Is Important at All Times
We hope this look at managing anxiety during the age of Coronavirus will be helpful for the days ahead, but we also want you to take these lessons with you beyond the pandemic. Good luck as you move forward, and remember that we’re all in this together!
[Featured Image by Wikimedia Commons]