Managing Anxious Feelings During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of everyone around the world, in both big and small ways. Many people have stayed home and isolated to a large extent, avoiding gatherings and events with loved ones. Staying safe can have a major effect on a person’s mental health, with feelings of stress and anxiety building up as the pandemic rages on.
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, you aren’t alone, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Your physical and mental health go hand in hand, so it is vital that you address these feelings. While COVID-19 may change the way you operate, with a little imagination, you can still find ways to do things that are important to you. Here are some ways you can manage anxiety during COVID-19.
Double Down on Social Interaction
Of course you’d like to be spending more time with loved ones, but that is pretty hard to do right now. Although socializing might require a few extra hurdles these days, the effort will be worth it for your mental health.
The pandemic has made it clear how much people need human connection, and there’s plenty of science to back up the importance of having people in your life. Being with family and friends helps reduce stress, loneliness, and isolation, and they can help make tough times easier. Even if you can’t gather in person, find new ways to connect with others. Try video calls, writing letters, or even joining online groups of people with similar interests.
Like just about everything else in life, exercising has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe your gym is closed, or staying home is the safest option for you. Getting regular exercise isn’t as easy as taking a class or hopping on a treadmill during your spare time. Luckily, there are online workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home. Whether you want to do yoga or tai chi for strength and balance, aerobics to get your blood pumping, or some light weight-bearing exercises, there are options to suit any skill level. Burning muscles and lungs are a great distraction from whatever is bothering you, and you’ll feel better physically and emotionally.
“However you choose to keep exercise in your life, your mental health will benefit,” says Manju Puri, director of rehabilitation for Cedar Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Exercising helps your brain and body reduce stress and tension, and working out is an excellent tool to fight both immediate and chronic anxiety.”
Do Your Chores
If you are a stress cleaner, you can testify to the power a good scrubbing has to reduce anxiety. Organizing your home, baking cookies, or mopping the floors can help you feel better in a few ways. They can give you a sense of control over the things in your life, and you feel good knowing you’ve accomplished important tasks—however small those tasks may be. If your home is clean and organized—and your belly is full of cookies—it may prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by a chaotic home and world around you. So, as you tackle your chores, do your best to be present in the moment and forget for a while the worries the pandemic might bring.
Talk to a Doctor
Little adjustments in your life can improve feelings of anxiety, but sometimes it takes some professional help to see a big difference. Now isn’t the time to keep to yourself, even if visiting the doctor might seem more difficult than before. In fact, seeing a doctor might be easier than you would think. With telemedicine, patients can connect with their doctor without an in-person visit. You can video call your sister across the country one moment and have a call with your doctor the next, all from your living room. You can even participate in mental health counseling online, so a listening ear is only a few clicks away.
Don’t let the pandemic keep you from taking care of your physical and mental health. You might need to get a little more creative now, but you are worth it.