Managing Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, we have found that our clients are experiencing an increase in anxiety, fear, frustration, stress, sadness and confusion. These are all normal responses to the tremendous lack of certainty we are facing as a result of this pandemic. Undoubtedly, these are stressful times.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are finding ourselves transitioning into a completely different way of living. Many of us are no longer going to work and we are instead working from home. Children are not going to school; homeschooling and virtual school is their new normal. We are unable to eat at our favorite restaurants, enjoy sporting events or socialize with friends. These sudden changes to our normal lives can take a toll on our feelings of well-being and this has left many individuals struggling. Lack of control over our daily life brought on by stay-at-home orders, feelings of uncertainty about the future, lack of everyday essentials and worry about our health and the health of our loved ones, can feel overwhelming and scary.
Although there are many facets of our current circumstances over which we have no control, it is important that there are also facets of these circumstances over which we do have control. As cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches us, we can always choose our response, which includes our attitude, behaviors and actions. We can make a conscious effort to make choices that promote our own physical and mental well-being, despite the current situation.
Manage Anxiety About Coronavirus By Implementing The Following:
- Limit News and Social Media Intake. It’s very important to seek information from reliable sources as there is an overwhelming amount of information concerning COVID-19. This can contribute to feelings of anxiety and distress and increase worry. Consider limiting news intake to 15 minutes, twice per day and get your news from a reliable source, as not all of this information is accurate. Take care to follow guidelines offered by the CDC. Constantly checking the news or social media for updates will likely not give you significant new information, but it may contribute considerably to your feelings of anxiety.
- Create a New Routine. As much as possible, create and maintain a routine that includes getting up and going to bed near the same time each day. If you’re working from home, treat it like a “real job”. Take a shower and get dressed, even though you technically could lounge in your pajamas all day. Set up a “work space” where you can concentrate and won’t be disturbed by family members.
If you have children at home, create blocks of time for them to focus on school work, with breaks for snacks and playtime for younger children. You can also include a schedule for chores.
- Learn Something New. Adults as well as older kids and teens can use this time to focus on cultivating a new skill or hobbies. Learn to cook, learn new career skills by watching webinars or earning new certifications, take a virtual museum tour, watch a Broadway show or symphony broadcast, or take an online class. During the quarantine, many events that would not normally be available online are offered virtually, many of them are free.
- Exercise. Even though gyms around the country are closed due to the pandemic, many of them are offering classes online. Peleton is offering new users a 90-day free trial on its app. Golds Gym and Planet Fitness have free workout classes on their app and YouTube has many types of free exercise classes available.
If it’s possible, spend time outside by playing in the backyard with your children or pets. Go for a walk, a run or ride your bike in your neighborhood. Of course, be mindful to keep a healthy distance from others.
- Meditate. Meditation has so many health benefits. It calms the nervous system, increases our immune response, and gives us clarity of thought that is much needed during these challenging times. Try an app like HeadSpace or Calm or Insight Timer for guided meditations.
- Stay Connected. Call, text, Facetime, email and video chat with loved ones to stay connected and feel less isolated while practicing social distancing. Zoom can be used for virtual family get-togethers, virtual happy hours and Netflix watching parties. Play a video game with someone. There are so many ways to stay connected.
These suggestions are a few ideas to help you manage anxiety and better cope during these unprecedented times. Stay well and healthy and remember that we are all in this together.
Interested in more support? If you need additional support, please reach out to us at GroundWork Counseling in Orlando to schedule a virtual telehealth therapy appointment with one of our well-trained cognitive behavioral therapists (CBT).
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