With the current events that are happening right now in the world (the very devastating crisis that hit the world of coronavirus or COVID-19), it’s inevitable to not feel worried or feel that things may feel like the end of the world. In all my life or my parents’ lives as they told me, they have never felt such a pandemic occur worldwide that would affect nearly everything. This global pandemic of coronavirus affects our way of seeing how life will be in the future including causing us anxiety.
People are getting sick from coronavirus to the economy being hit with the stock market, small businesses making decisions to close down temporarily, many people are losing their jobs or have to work remotely at home, many events (personal or professional) and gatherings are getting canceled, and many countries and states have already issued that everyone should stay home to avoid the spread of this disease. There is the case of panic buying to get the necessities you need before you have to stay in and with all these several chaoses taking place in such a short time, these can negatively impact our mental health.
There are so many things surrounding this issue that continue to be repeated and heard through the news. Shutting yourself out from the news is a great start of a method for a mental escape if we are already affected by this. Our mental health is important to our wellbeing and it may be harder to grasp if we have a personal connection to this current event.
Millions of people suffer from anxiety and I believe everyone gets anxious about something but the extent of how that anxiety is and how it can feel, it can be a daunting experience to have to go through. Our psychological thinking is so powerful along with our bodies. Our bodies can send out signals of anxiety from how weak we start to feel to the way our heart rate feels and other physical symptoms that feel off. Anxiety could have always been there, but now with these current events, our anxiety may feel at an all-time high on top of what we were already dealing with.
As someone who frequently suffers from anxiety, I’ve found some of my ways how I cope with it no matter the situation I’m trying to overcome and these tips can help you to combat it too. Here are some strategies on how you can cope with anxiety:
1. Accept that you can’t control everything.
Yes, it is hard to see the positivity and light through this Coronavirus issue, but hang in there, we are all in this together. This is a period of time that puts our lives and things on pause. We can’t control many of these things beyond our greatest wishes. Our country’s government is looking out for our best interest in our health, including restricting many things. Acceptance is always the most reasonable step when it comes to grieving, devastation, and to be able to move forward. And as I mentioned about being put on pause, see this as an opportunity to work on your interests and focus on self-care.
2. Do self-care.
Self-care can mean doing anything that soothes you as a person. Everyone has their own way of doing self-care and what interests them, so stick with what you believe can help elevate your mind and what is truly healthy. Reading a book, painting, lighting up candles, soaking yourself up in a warm bathtub, putting on a facial mask, writing your gratitude in a journal, playing music that makes you want to dance or helps your mind wander to a more positive place can all be great forms of self-care.
3. Create a zen space.
Due to this virus, I started working remotely here at home. I had to make space on my desk to fit my computer monitors and it’s more than ever important to have a space that won’t have distractions. Even before this, I chose to have my desk moved right next to a window because I don’t like working in a place where it’s all just four walls surrounding me and I always appreciate the natural daylight to look at. You can create a clean and calming space where you can work on your projects with ease. Decorate it with easy-to-maintain plants, a music speaker (I like my Google Home Mini – thanks to Spotify for it with their promotion with Google once!), an essential oil diffuser, or a felt-board with an inspirational quote on it.
There are several ways on how you can bring meditation into your life and how you can practice it. You can take many deep breaths, do some yoga, go take a walk in nature, go for a swim, and anything low-impact that gets you busy in thinking of the presence. There are, however, many forms of actual meditations with practical techniques to do (here are 16 types of meditation to check out).
There are apps that are available for you to download to help you meditate and some of them are:
- Insight Timer
5. Connect with a virtual community.
I feel like when I meet someone online that can relate to something I post, it makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone in my feelings. I love how there’s a community out there for anyone to join in, while it’s a group for bloggers you can find on Facebook groups or a group you can rely on solely on working around your mental health. You have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life on social media and be able to discuss these matters, as well as create new friendships. Also, being able to learn from one another adds positivity to you already with the knowledge you can acquire and apply.
6. Always remember what you’re grateful for.
Gratitude goes a long way when you practice it and your focus shifts. You’re able to see light when the moments are dark. Putting gratitude in your life can lessen your anxiety by providing you with better sleep, rewire your brain, and build up your confidence. By remembering what makes you want to get up and get going can be an empowering thing for yourself. If you ever feel like you’re not fully engaged at the moment, looking back at your happy times and experiences can help.
7. Have well-balanced meals.
They say you are what you eat and that is true. Having rich meals with vegetables, the right protein, and fresh fruits will give you the nutrition and vitamins you need. The kind of foods you eat can also impact how your energy is. Avoid processed foods as much as you can and having food high in sugar that can impact your blood sugar levels; the sugar can contribute to mimic panic attacks too, according to Harvard. Remember to always stay hydrated as well by drinking at least six to eight glasses of water.
8. Talk to a friend or family member you trust.
Having that human contact is important in alleviating your stress and it raises the feeling of security. Try talking with a friend or family member that can be empathetic and listen to your struggles and can offer you solutions. Bottling things up when your anxiety seems to eat you up could make you feel worst. Don’t be afraid to open up and start that conversation about your anxious feelings. There are many people who care, even if it seems that they have their own problems, just taking a few minutes of their day to help just shows who is worthy of being in your life.
9. Allow humor into your life as much as you can.
Being able to laugh off things is a positive outlet. I don’t know about you, but I love myself some memes and sharing them among friends or having friends show them. I also love to watch YouTube videos and watch comedy movies for that sense of comedic relief. I also love being myself and allowing that humor to come off when I talk with others. (I’m a very sarcastic person.) Just one laugh a day keeps the doctor away. Just kidding, but laughter truly is one of the best medicine there is. It almost makes you forget the dark times.
10. Limit alcohol and caffeine.
Cutting out or reducing your intake on alcohol and caffeine can reduce your anxiety. I used to be highly addicted to caffeine where I needed to function with coffee every morning before work and school, but I found out in the long term that it would contribute to my anxiety even worst: I’d have jittery feelings, get tired throughout the day and crash, my chest would palpitate, and overthink at times, even with one cup of coffee for the day! My tolerance for coffee is very low. I also cut down on alcohol, especially when it came to social gatherings and I can now relax with just one beer (or wine) or two.
11. Get enough sleep.
Anxiety itself already causes sleeping problems, but having those sleeping problems ahead can get you into this funk that you won’t be able to fix for long!! Trust me when I say I know exactly how this felt. For a year straight, I had inconsistent sleep that had me stay up late and have less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep. If you have insomnia, you could be at a higher risk to develop an anxiety disorder.
Thank God for my full-time job when I had a long period of unemployment that I was able to fix my sleep! I felt better overall with my mental and physical health and I no longer could stay up in the middle of the night. So, how did I fix it? And what’s the best way to do it? This may not work for everyone, but it worked for me and I couldn’t believe it took me long enough to practice it: Wake up the same time every morning and your body will allow you to fall asleep at the same time (resist the urge to nap during this time). You will get to sleep earlier.
12. Exercise, go outdoors or take a walk.
We may already know the importance that exercise can help us and with anxiety and exercise, your body can produce the hormones that can boost pleasure and reduce pain, endorphins, to keep the good energy flowing. If you go outside too during the sun is out, you will get that natural Vitamin D. A hike is always an amazing activity to choose; you get beautiful views and you get a great workout from it. Here are 6 ways your body can change from hiking. But, if a hike may seem too intense for your body, just taking a walk through the park or around your neighborhood is a good way to get fresh air and to open your eyes up to a world filled with hope and light.
Social media is like a necessary evil. We love to be on it to entertain us and help us with our businesses or to connect with loved ones, but without using it in moderation, too much can affect our minds and raise more anxiety. Something on social media may trigger your anxiety or spark it from the start. Try to take time off from it and keep yourself busy in person to not worry about what you see online. You also do not want to strain your eyes or fingers from using social media (like pressing or typing away so much haha).
I hope that this post has given you useful strategies on how to cope with your anxiety. It’s, of course, easier said than done, but over time, you may be able to remember to use these when times get hard. It’s also best to always figure out where the triggers of your anxiety are coming from and be able to cope from reacting negatively to those. If your anxiety gets unbearable or affects your life on a daily, seeing a therapist will be very guiding and insightful. You may need a combination of doctor appointments along with wellness habits to get you going.
Also, if you do need a friend to talk to for a little bit, I am here to listen and hope to deliver hope to you in some way.