Feeling anxious about all the news on the coronoavirus while isolated inside your home? It’s completely understandable as we’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. You aren’t alone in your concerns as many are feeling that same restlessness. Without the ability to go outside, it can seem impossible to relax if you’re used to relaxing through outdoor activities. However, there are ways to help you cope with your unease from the comfort of your home.
The first step is to stay informed about coronoavirus updates, without obsessively checking the news. Focus on following reliable sources, such as the CDC, the World Health Organization, and your local public health authorities, as misinformation can feed into your fear. While checking for updates, pay attention to how often you’re monitoring the news and how it’s making you feel. Constant checking can become compulsive and counterproductive by fueling your anxiety. The limit is different for everyone so paying attention to your reactions and anxiety levels will allow you to adjust accordingly. While you can’t change what’s going on in the world, you can change how you react to it.
This is important to realize because focusing on things of your control will ultimately leave you feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed. When you notice yourself feeling anxious about what might happen, try to shift your focus onto things you can control, such as steps you can take to reduce your own personal risk. Doctor recommended steps you can take can be found in one of my previous posts, Protecting Yourself and Family During The Coronavirus Pandemic.
In the same way, being proactive about certain concerns you have, can help relieve some of the anxiety. Here are a few steps you can take to help sort through the daunting possibilities:
- Write down the specific concerns you have about how coronavirus may affect your life. Take a break if you start to feel overwhelmed and return after the nervousness has passed.
- Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to focus on finding the “perfect” options, instead include all the possibilities that come to mind.
- Focus on concrete things that you can problem solve or change, rather than any circumstances that are beyond your control.
- Once you’ve evaluated your options, come up with a plan of action. Afterwards, set it aside until you need it or if your circumstances significantly change.
Having a concrete plan will make it easier for your mind to rest, as you’ll know that there’s already a plan in case your concerns become reality.
After taking care of your mind, it’s important to tend to your body and spirit. Right now practicing self care is a necessity, as it’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed by everything going on. If you find yourself feeling anxious or even depressed during this time, it’s essential to be kind to yourself. It’s impossible to feel good if you’re beating yourself up when struggling. Here are a few simple ways to practice self-care during this time:
- Maintain a routine as best as you can. Even though you’re stuck at home, try to keep your regular sleep, meal, school, and work schedule as it will help you sustain a sense of normalcy.
- Take time to do activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a good book, playing a fun board or video game, watching a comedy, or making something, the goal is to enjoy yourself and distract yourself from your worries.
- If possible, go out in nature. Fresh air, sunshine, and greenery are great ways to put your mind at easy. Even a walk around your neighborhood can help you feel better. Be sure however to avoid crows, respect social distancing, and obey any restrictions in your area.
- Find ways to exercise. While the gym and group classes aren’t currently options, you can still exercise to release endorphins, which will relieve anxiety and stress, helping you manage your mood. There are numerous workout videos available online, as well as yoga and body weight exercises to help keep you active while at home.
- Avoid self-medicating. Be sure to not use non-prescribed drugs or alcohol to manage your anxiety or depression. Not only will these lower your immune system, but you can also develop a long lasting dependence.
- Take up a relaxation practice. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can not only help you relax but they can also help you be more mindful so you can appreciate the things you enjoy even more.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Even if you’re physically isolated, it’s important to make staying in touch a priority, as isolation and loneliness intensifies anxiety and depression. Regular phone calls, messaging, and video calls will help you continue to feel connected with your loved ones.
With everything going on, this can feel like a very lonesome and overwhelming time, however, we’re all on this journey together. In time, this will pass and life will return to normal. For now, focusing on making healthy choices about what to do – and what not to do – not do – will make a big difference in helping you be able to stay as safe and well as possible.