Since mid-March, many cities and states have issued stay-at-home orders for their residents in order to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have been in quarantine for the past month, you may be experiencing a wide range of negative emotions about the situation. If anxiety is starting to overwhelm you, here are five healthy ways to manage your symptoms.
Take a Break from the News
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the news. Disturbing scenes from hospitals, morgues or cemeteries may upset you. Limit your exposure to the media, especially the news. Only check the news once per day, and give yourself a time maximum. For example, you might visit your local news website and the state health department website once each day after dinner in order to catch up on developments. Avoid watching the news or reading about the COVID-19 pandemic right before bed. Consider a social media break, suggests the Centers for Disease Control.
Practice Good Self-care
Make sure to practice good self-care. This includes keeping up with basic personal hygiene, such as showering each morning or taking a relaxing bath in the evening. It also includes eating the right portion sizes of nutritious foods. Choose foods that will boost your immune system, such as oranges for vitamin C and leafy greens for antioxidants. Staying hydrated with water and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine use also helps with the physical symptoms of anxiety.
If you are experiencing severe anxiety consider using meditation as a way to help calm your thoughts. Uplift Psychology Group who gives anxiety treatment in San Jose mentions that “meditation has been used for millennia as a way to assuage fears, lower your heart rate and breathing, and ease tension.”
Another part of practicing good self-care is exercise. Even when the gym, pool, and rock climbing wall facilities are closed, you can still exercise at home. Many personal trainers and yogis are offering classes free online. You could do resistance training with your own body at home. Most areas are permitting people to go outside for exercise, so long as you are able to maintain social distancing.
Make Time to Unwind
If you’re working from home in quarantine, it could be challenging to end your workday. Your time might blend together. Make time to unwind every day. Consider planning several short unwinding sessions throughout the day in order to facilitate a consistent sense of calm. A five-minute meditation in the morning, before lunch and close to bedtime, could help calm your thoughts. You could have a longer unwinding session in the evening. A relaxing bath, soaking your feet or listening to some music could be a good way to unwind in the hour before bedtime. Be sure to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for better sleep.
Return to Your Favorite Hobbies
Now is a good time to go back to some hobbies you enjoy but previously did not have enough time to do. Without needing to commute to work and with restaurants and shopping centers closed, you may have more time for some of your past passions. Get out the jigsaw puzzle and work on it. Consider planting flower or herb seeds and growing a little victory garden. Finish a half-started knitting project from a few years ago. You could also look for online to tutorials and try a new skill or hobby. This will help occupy your mind.
Try Alternative Ways of Connecting With Others
Although you can not attend your book club meeting or Saturday coffee with friends, you can connect in other ways. There are several online meeting rooms that allow you to have video chats with up to 100 of your friends and family at once. You could also do a video phone call. Send a text message to family members or friends who cannot do a video call.
If your health, age or other circumstances put you at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection or complications, your anxiety and stress level could be higher than that of most people. Reaching out to your healthcare provider, such as your primary care doctor, counselor or therapist for a telehealth visit may help, too. Keep in mind that staying at home helps protect the most vulnerable members of society, and you are doing your part to help fight this pandemic. Managing your anxiety with these five tips can help you get through this challenge and other challenges that may provoke anxiety in the future.