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How to Decrease Anxiety During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Stressed much?  Noticed an increase in your anxiety level?  You’re not alone!  The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, both real and potential, have the ability to cause increased stress and anxiety in many of us.  Below are some tips to help manage your anxiety during these unpredictable times.

  • Breathing Breathe in for a count of five, hold for 1 second, then breathe out for a count of ten.  The slow exhale tricks the brain into relaxing the body.
  • Progressive Relaxation Practice progressive relaxation by tensing a group of muscles as your breath in, then relax that same group of muscles as you exhale.  Work through each muscle group of the body in a progressive pattern.
  • Grounding Grounding is a great way to stop a panic attack in its tracks.  To practice grounding, perform the following:
    • Notice 5 things you can see
    • Notice 5 things you can feel
    • Notice 5 things you can hear
    • Notice 5 things you can smell
    • Notice 5 things you can taste
  • Stay Productive Do something productive that gives you satisfaction and can serve as a distraction.  Such activities could include going for a walk, cleaning or organizing items for donation
  • Keep a Schedule Keeping on a schedule may help you feel more in control during these uncertain times.  Include the following types of activities in your daily schedule:
    • solitary activities such as reading, self-care, crafting
    • social activities such as a zoom happy hour with friends or a phone call with family
    • activities of necessity like laundry and cleaning
    • physical activities such as going for a walk, golfing or a cardio workout
  • Focus on what you can control Focus on your area of influence vs. your area of interest.  This means focusing on what is in your control vs. what you’d like to control.  Remind yourself what YOU are doing to help contain the spread of COVID-19 such as social distancing and washing your hands.
  • Limit Media Spend time away from electronics and limit your exposure to social media and news outlets
  • Rest Take breaks between activities and allow for intermittent rest for your mind and body

Also check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to learn more about how you can plan, prepare, and cope with stress before and during a COVID-19 outbreak and these helpful Mental Health Apps: Calm, Headspace, Breathe2Relax, Take a Break, Mindfulness, Moodkit

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others: