Reducing Anxiety & Stress During the Pandemic
Identify what you can and cannot control.
We’re in a much different situation than we were in March. However, Coronavirus is still having an impact on our daily lives. For most of us, gone are the days when the pandemic left grocery stores without toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other essentials nearly all over the world. People are still anxious and it is no wonder that there has been increased stress and worry. We cannot predict how long our lives will feel like this. Many are feeling the pinch of lost jobs and income, and it is taking an emotional and mental toll on everyone. When we feel overwhelmed and uncertain, we obsess over the news and try to play out future scenarios in our heads.
Anxiety rears its head during unpredictable times like these. But the key here is to recognize what we can and cannot control. We cannot change the fact that grocery stores are limited, hospitals are at capacity, and we cannot force the social distancing and/or mask rules to be lifted.
Identifying Your Areas of Control
Below is a list of things that are in fact in your control and those that are not to allow you to feel some mental and emotional relief:
What you can’t control:
How long it will take to get it under control
How many people will be affected one way or another
Number of deaths
When all businesses will re-open
When you will go back to work
If school will reopen virtually or physical attendance
When you can go back to concerts, football games, and other gatherings
What you can control:
What you do with your time – whether it is constructive and self-supportive
How you protect yourself from infection
How you concern yourself with protecting others from infection
Your attitude and mindset
How you deal with your emotions
How you are supportive of others
How much you make the best out of a horrible situation
Listen to your mind
Rather than sitting with negative thoughts all day and letting them overpower you, this is a great time to learn about connecting with your mind and start practicing ways to connect with yourself.
Whether it be breathing techniques, meditation, or even writing in a gratitude journal, your mental and emotional health will improve significantly, and you will be able to analyze your worries from an outside perspective. Even though we cannot control the situation, we can control the way we react to it and adjust to our surroundings.
Connect with Others
When you are feeling trapped in the house and do not have human interaction with friends and your community, it is very normal to start to feel isolated and lonely. Although we cannot control the need for staying home, we can adapt to it and connect with others through technology. You can call or video chat with your loved ones and catch up with people you have not spoken to in a while due to the digital availability at our fingertips.
Proper Sleep Schedule
Sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels and improve your mental health when you are unable to leave the house. Getting the same number of hours each night will keep you feeling energized and will allow you to feel more structured on a daily basis.
Although you cannot control the way that your routine has changed compared to a month ago, you can control the way you adapt and adjust. It can be very easy to lay in bed all day or not have any structure in your life because you are home all day. However, staying on top of your morning routine no matter what you have to do each day will keep you motivated and accountable to stay productive.
Instead of over-analyzing the news, it is important to recognize that everyone is having to deal with this situation and they are feeling a very similar mix of emotions. We are all in this together, you are not alone. Remember, identifying what is not in your control and letting go of those worries is key during uncertain times.
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