Coronavirus has instilled an awful edge of uncertainty in the air. Anyone can get it. The symptoms and affects are terrifying. On top of that, because of the contagious properties of COVID 19, Shelter in Place has been recommended in numerous cities. This new state of living has resulted in businesses struggling, families floundering and the worst part? No one has any clear cut ideas of what’s going to happen tomorrow.
It’s a disastrous emotional storm and it only gets amplified by a pre-existing struggle with anxiety.
Are you feeling the struggle? Because I definitely am. In fact, just this afternoon I took a moment to cry into my couch because my anxiety flared way beyond my control.
So, the big question: how do we all cope with anxiety, during this coronavirus epidemic?
There isn’t a set solution. But here are 5 things I’ve found to be helpful:
- Plan/Manage what you can
In a study exploring the relationship between facing existential issues and symptoms of anxiety, researchers found that managing perceived stress is an important way to combat anxiety. Perceived stress is different for us all. One major perceived stress for me right now is financial security. To manage this, I took a moment and readjusted our family budget. I sat down and discovered what was necessary or unnecessary in our expenditures. I came up with a plan and more importantly, I found a tiny aspect of life that I could manage at the moment.
2. Time management
First thing in the morning, or even the night before, sit down and make a schedule. Successfully managing time will help fight the feelings of panic and lack of control that uncertain or stressful times can induce. Personally, time management helps me to feel a bit of extra security. I make a loose schedule because my husband’s work is all over the place and I have two small children. But I have things listened out as “morning activities” (like walking our dog) “afternoon activities” (like gardening) and “evening activities” (like screen time.) Managing time this way helps me to feel as if I have a lifeline to sanity as I teeter on the constant verge of an anxiety breakdown. Can you relate?
3. Don’t forget to exercise
Exercise has been shown in countless studies to successfully combat anxiety. This is hard for me. I personally love to do ballet and yoga for my exercise but all of the studios are currently closed and its impossible to do either of those at home with two small children. But I can walk. I can lift weights. ( I use this set at home.) I can do jumping jacks, burpees, tricep dips, lunges…etc. Anything helps- even just a 5 min set of lunges here and a 5 min set of push-ups there.
4. Take time to breathe
Breathing can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and improve mental health. Isn’t it amazing how something so simple can make such a huge difference? I have a go to breathing exercise that you can learn more about here. Take a moment (literally just a minute will help) and focus on your breath.
Sometimes if I need a little extra help calming my body down, I’ll put a drop of lemon balm under my tongue. Just a drop can make such a difference on my body’s state of being.
5. Create a relaxing environment
Right now, we are stuck inside. The positive thing is, there are little simple ways we can improve the environment that we are stuck inside of. We can get a defuser and defuse relaxing oils. (I like defusing doTerra Breathe). We can open the windows and let in fresh air. We can play soothing music. Whatever it is that you need in your environment to relax, now’s the time to implement it.
When all else fails, and a breakdown ensues, let it happen. Let the tears roll down, let the emotion run its course.
Love and accept yourself for exactly who you are.
The breakdown is temporary. This time of craziness is temporary.
You will regain control and you will be able to thrive again.
***For extra help when the hard times hit, check out my latest notebook, “When it’s Hard to Love Myself.” With interactive chapters, it can help you navigate those trembling anxiety attacks and pull yourself back to a place of control.