Managing Stress & Anxiety During COVID-19
As a nutritionist and wellness coach I've helped hundreds of people with stress management. Please note that I am not a doctor or therapist and my following opinion is just that, my opinion and strategies that have worked with my personal clients over the past 10 years. At the end of this post is the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
COVID-19 is bringing on a whole new level of stress and anxiety and understandable so. Life has changed drastically in what seems like overnight. We have been asked to stay home, our jobs have been put on hold which means our income has been drastically cut or stopped all together. We don't know if we will have jobs to go back to, businesses are struggling and many sole proprietorships are concerned they won't be able to recover. Our kids are home and now we have the challenge of keeping them on schedule with school work, overcoming boredom, and managing their stress and anxiety. OK, I'm going to stop listing all the reasons causing our emotional upheaval and help you with strategies on how to manage it all.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Although we have not been given a definitive end date for all this we DO know that it's not forever. It's not like Armageddon where the world comes to an end.
WE WILL RECOVER!
So much of our stress and anxiety is driven by the fear of the unknown.
That "What if.... " thought process is only making things worse. Control what you can control and set yourself up for success.
THINGS YOU CAN DO
Our elected officials and government are working hard to find ways to help individuals and businesses. Do your homework and find out what kind of funding you can get, apply for unemployment, defer your loans, call your credit card companies, speak with your accountant and get professional guidance on your financial situation.
Follow the CDC guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. The faster we can get this under control the faster we can all get back to life. Be part of the solution not the problem. World Health Organization
Don't watch the news ALL DAY. Find credible resources (not your FaceBook friends) for information and get 2-3 updates a day. Having the news on a constant loop is just filling your mind with fear and manifesting heightened levels of anxiety. I suggest watching the news conferences of President Trump and your local governors. Then go watch Frozen 2 or any feel good movie.
Take care of your body. A strong immune system is so important now and always! Eat nutrient rich foods, exercise, and get a good night sleep, go outside for fresh air and sunshine, consume alcohol in moderation.
Take care of your mind. Find some quiet time just for you and press the reset button. Meditation can be a great way to reduce stress. There are a lot of free apps you can download for guided meditation. When you feel anxiety creeping in that deep breaths to a count of 4 with each inhale and exhale to bring yourself back to a calmer state of mind. Read a book, do a crossword puzzle, go for a walk, take a bath. Fall back on activities that brought you joy in the past.
TIME! Find the silver lining and focus on the opportunities this has given you. Time with your family, time to get organized, time to learn a new skill. I can't even tell you how many times I hear from my clients that they "don't have time". Time is a precious commodity and now you have it.
Stay Connected. Reach out and check on your friends and family for support. Don't get sucked into negative talk though. Conversations around conspiracy theories, government bashing, and blame won't do anyone good. Focus on supporting with compassion and understanding. I find it helpful to actually see the person I"m talking to not just hearing. Use technology like Duo, Zoom, and Google hangouts, to name a few. Set up group chats with extended family, co-workers and friends. Have a virtual party!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline