There is no shortage of things to worry about. Will I contract this virus? What about the health of my loved ones who are more vulnerable? How will this impact my job and finances? It is ‘normal’ to feel stressed during times of crisis. There are so many things that appear to be out of our control which can either cause or exasperate anxiety. If you do not properly deal with this added stress, it can be damaging to your mental, physical, relational, spiritual, and financial health. The primary antidote to this anxiety is to focus on the things that you CAN control.
Here are some practical tips for reducing anxiety amidst the COVID-19 crisis:
- Nourish your body. Commit to eating at least 1 fruit or vegetable at every meal. If you smoke or drink coffee, try to limit your intake, since nicotine and caffeine can also increase stress.
- Exercise. You don’t necessarily need to go to a gym. Do yoga, sit-ups or take a walk. Movement will reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body.
- Limit exposure to news of the crisis. Watching or reading news about COVID-19 over and over again will only increase your stress. Stay informed but limit your exposure. To get accurate information go to: https://www.cdc.gov/
- Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. “Checking off” tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.
- Do something positive. Go grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor, compliment a stranger, or do some random act of kindness. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose in a time that feels so out of your control.
- Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.
Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are so intense that they interfere with your sleep or ability to function in daily life, talk with a trusted relative, friend, or counselor about getting help.
All of the therapists at Total Health Guidance are offering free initial consultations (English, Spanish, Portuguese) for people dealing with this added stress. Appointments can be done in person, over the phone, or via our video conferencing app. Call us at 321-332-6984 to make an appointment. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the current crisis and keep your stress in check.