I know a bit about anxiety, having lived with it all my life. For years, fear was my constant companion. It was always beside me pointing out potential dangers. Everything from being abducted by a serial killer to being publicly humiliated. From giving a patient the wrong medication to losing one of my children. I had a death grip on life, which kept me paralyzed and took up a lot of energy.
During this COVID-19 crisis, I’d like to share a few tips for managing anxiety, since the goal is for everyone to remain as physically and mentally healthy as possible while riding out the storm.
- Stay connected Whether through email, text, phone, video chat, or social media, reach out to friends and family. Maintain a social support system. Keep the conversations going. We have more ways than ever to keep in touch, so take advantage!
- Maintain a routine Just because you have nowhere to be at a certain time, don’t use it as an excuse to languish in bed. Get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Shower, get dressed, fix your hair, and put on your makeup as if you were heading out to wherever you usually go. Schedule times for meals, exercise, and creative pursuits.
- Stay Active Gyms and yoga studios may be closed, but that’s no reason to sit on the couch and grow moss! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air while you walk, jog, or hike. Dust off your bike and go for a ride. Take advantage of fitness and yoga classes being streamed online. Exercise and fresh air are powerful antidotes for anxiety.
- Play Music Music has a profound effect on mood. Crank some up while you stay active (see above) , while you’re disinfecting, cooking, or puttering around the house. With the extra free time, you can even create some new playlists.
- Stay busy If your mind is engaged in productive activities, it’s distracted from worrying. You know all of those projects you keep meaning to do but haven’t had the time? Organize old photos, clean out the garage and/ or cellar, sort through clothes, shoes, books, and/or toys that have accumulated. Catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read and movies you’ve been meaning to watch. Try some new recipes. Take an online class. If you Google “Open Courseware” you can find free courses on every subject imaginable.