The recent pandemic has the entire world upside down.
People from all over are experiencing physical, economical and emotional tolls at an unprecedented level.
While social distancing orders are required for everyone’s safety, the emotional toll, especially those who are living with anxiety disorder, can be extreme.
If you are experiencing anxiety disorder during this pandemic, please remember that you are not alone.
You are not powerless. Together, we can help each other go through this.
The upcoming tips offer you different ways you can feel calmer amidst what’s happening.
1. Stay Informed, But Don’t Overthink
Like everyone else, you are worrying about the effects of this pandemic in your life.
So, you watch the news and keep yourself updated online.
However, there is a downside to absorbing too much information about this pandemic. The online world has a lot of untrusted websites that spread fear and anxiety instead of actual fact-based information.
To avoid this, be sure that you are only trusting legitimate sources. This includes the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. These organizations provide informative and timely updates regarding the situation. Listening to only trusted sources help filter out what has already been sensationalized by the news.
2. Stay Calm
We understand how difficult it can be to stay calm despite what’s happening all over the world. However, when it comes to these frightening situations, the best way to handle it is by taking a step back, staying calm and assessing the situation. If you feel like you’re going down a path of unhelpful or extreme thinking, take a step back and stay calm.
3. Understanding What You Can and Cannot Control
There are a lot of things in life that we cannot control.
The best way to avoid panicking is by understanding what we can and cannot control.
For instance, we cannot control how long this pandemic lasts, or what’s happening in our communities.
While it may be tough to accept that these things are outside of our control, it does help to know that there are also things we can control. When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear, try to think about the things you can control instead.
These things include staying inside your home as much as possible, washing your hands properly, practicing proper hygiene, avoiding large crowds and gatherings, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and following the recommendations of health authorities.
4. Have a Plan
Another thing you can control is your own plans.
According to a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, Marni Chanoff, MD, you should keep and rely on a list.
This list should include needed food supplies and medications.
It is also important to list down health care professionals and work contacts you can reach out to in case of emergencies. It may also help to create a list of your worries and create possible solutions for each one.
If you start feeling overwhelmed listing down your worries, take a break. Try not to get hung up on perfect solutions. There’s no such thing as a perfect solution. Just list down what you think may help you in that possible scenario.
Again, it is important to focus on the things you can control here. Just list down the things you know are within your control. Once you are done listing your worries and possible solutions, set the list aside and resist the urge to go through it over and over again. Don’t look at it until you need it.
5. Focus on Taking Care of Yourself
If there is a silver lining to this self-isolation, it is that now, you have a lot of time in your hands.
You can use this time to focus on taking care of yourself.
You do not have to do dramatic changes to your lifestyle, either.
You can focus on the little things such as starting a hobby, learning new things you’ve been meaning to do for a while.
If you have been planning on eating healthy, but hasn’t had the time to before, now’s the best time.
You can exercise every day – it doesn’t even have to be tedious exercises. Start with breathing exercises, cognitive coping, and move on from there.
6. Stay in Contact
Just because we are all physically apart, it doesn’t mean that we cannot connect.
The world of social media and the Internet has made it possible for everyone to connect with each other.
Phone calls to your loved ones also help. Stay in touch with friends and family. If you are missing that in-person experience, try video chatting.
7. Be Kind To Yourself
Go easy on yourself. If you are experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual, remember that you are not alone in your struggles. Reach out to someone. If you do not feel like reaching out to someone you know, there are different hotlines and communities where you can call or log on anonymously.
8. Do Not React to Physical Symptoms
Do not go out of your way to scan your body looking for COVID-19 symptoms. This will only reinforce your worries and increase your anxiety.