We’re living our lives, working, going to school, dealing with the everyday stresses of life. All of the sudden, we are thrown into the midst of a pandemic, and life as we know it has been turned upside down. None of us have been in a situation like this before, so we don’t know what to expect, how bad it is going to get, how long this will last, and if it will affect us or someone we know. The threat of all of these “unknowns” is one of the biggest contributors to anxiety.
Feeling anxious tends to happen when we feel as though we don’t have control over a situation, and that circumstances are happening to us. Given the current state of the world, it’s easy to feel this overwhelming sense of anxiety – if we focus on all the things we can’t control. So what do we have control over in this situation? Let’s explore.
Our own habits and behaviors.
We know that the easiest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through consistent personal hygiene (washing hands frequently and appropriately, cleaning surfaces frequently used, etc.) and being self-aware. If you are feeling sick, don’t go to work or be around others. Follow social distancing guidelines. Stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
Regulating our emotions.
If you are experiencing overwhelming anxiety or fear during this time, find ways to calm and ground yourself. Find meditation and/or deep breathing guided exercises on YouTube. Take a soothing bath. Listen to calming music.
Reaching out to others.
During this time of quarantine, it’s easy to become isolated and disconnected from others. Make time to reach out via phone to your friends and family members. Play online games together. Have Zoom teleconference parties. Write letters.
Sticking to a routine.
If you’re working from home, it’s hard to find a consistent routine that you had when working conventionally. Wake up at the same time every day. If you went to the gym after work, find a way to simulate that at home. Take lunch breaks. Consistency is key.
Not only is it important to focus on what we can control during this time, but it is also important to remember that this is temporary. It’s helpful to remember, “this too shall pass”. We have the power to decide every day what we focus on. Emphasizing the level of control we have over our lives is a great way to reduce anxiety and feel more powerful over our emotions.