Managing Anxiety During COVID-19
Written by: Alies Barton, MSW, LCSW
It is very normal to be feeling anxious these days, as well as angry, sad, and helpless. There is so much uncertainty that we are facing during the threat of COVID-19. Our routines have been thrown out the window and we are facing day to day changes. Anxiety comes with any change; however, this one may feel more intense because we really do not know how long this will last.
Here are some changes people around the world are facing:
- Working from home – which may have been fun the first couple of days, but it can get old and lonely fast.
- Having your children home – again, this may be fun and mean more family time, but this can also be very trying and overwhelming.
- Losing your job – many people are losing their jobs and have no income. This is incredibly stressful. It can be helpful to realize you are not the only one going through this.
- Social distancing from loved ones – keeping a 6-foot distance from others makes it very hard to see people outside of your immediate family. If there are elders in your family, you may feel even more anxious to visit them.
- Being an essential worker and still working – having to face possible exposure to COVID-19 would make anyone anxious.
It is important to remember the things you can control during this uncertain time. It can also be helpful to let go of the things you cannot control. This image from Carrie Stephens is very helpful in depicting what one can control versus what they cannot control:
Ways to deal with anxiety during COVID-19:
- Go to bed at a normal time and wake up at a normal time. Don’t stay up late or sleep in.
- Get dressed in the morning, maybe not business attire if you aren’t going into an office, but something other than pajamas.
- Create a routine
- Exercise – get outside and take a walk or a run. If it is raining, find a YouTube workout that suites you
- Get outside for fresh air
- Reach out to loved ones – call them, text them, or schedule virtual gatherings
- Play games with family at home – cards, board games, charades, etc.
- Create time for self-care. You may need some time to yourself if you are stuck at home with family.
- Meditate – use apps like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer for guided meditations
- Tackle house and/or art projects that have been put off
- Turn off the news