By Sulz, Dave on March 19, 2020.
Tips for coping with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Limit access to social media.
It is important to find a healthy balance between staying informed and becoming overly preoccupied with COVID-19. Frequent checking can increase anxiety and create unnecessary feelings of panic. Tips for creating balance include limiting time on social media (e.g.,checking once in the morning) and seeking reputable sources for updates (e.g., AHS website).
Make self care a priority.
Eat healthy and regularly, get rest and adequate sleep, exercise, and get sunshine. Go outside for a bit each day, even if it’s just for a walk around the block.
Stay connected with others.
Connect with others even if you must do so virtually. Isolation can enhance feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and anxiety. Social support is a huge protective factor for all mental health struggles, including depression and anxiety. Reach out to your supports often and regularly. Share your thoughts and feelings with others; it’s likely they are experiencing many of the same emotions and concerns as you are.
Remember anxiety is a normal response.
Anxiety helps to keep us safe. Use your feelings of anxiety in constructive ways such as to fuel connection with others and care for yourself.
Tap into spiritual supports.
At times like this, many of us will have existential concerns, such as fear of death, and a feeling that the world is random and beyond one’s control. Try connecting to your life’s purpose and sources of meaning, be it spirituality, relationships, or pursuit of a cause.
Create structure and new routines.
Your regular routine has been disrupted. With so much unpredictability, it helps to know what your day will look like. Make task lists and set goals for yourself each day.
Engage in activities that bring you joy and a sense of mastery.
Be creative with your time now that many of your “go-to” activities have been cancelled, like sporting events and concerts. Perhaps it’s time to dust off the board games, pick up the musical instrument you forgot about, or reread your favourite novel.
Find a healthy outlet for your emotions.
It’s easy to turn to things like drugs or alcohol to numb or escape your feelings. Instead, try connecting with others and engaging in more healthy coping such as mindfulness, journaling, yoga and self-care.
(From Jennifer Ellis-Toddington, University of Lethbridge)