Honestly, this has been a very surreal period. The spread of corona virus (covid 19), a pandemic disease that spreads so easily and has been really out of control. It feels like one of those movies on Netflix i have seen that was all about a virus taking over a city and causing deaths. You know one of those movies that get us(me) scared and I reassure myself by saying it is just a movie, well it feels just like those movies. The difference is this time it is not a movie. I imagine it has gotten many of you scared, confused and wondering when it will be over.
A combination of having to be home with an active toddler and worrying about the spread of this virus it is very possible that I have gone through a week’s worth of wine in just a couple of days.
I’ve however decided today that worrying just isn’t the way to go & I’m happy to report that my liver agrees.
5 ways to cope with the corona virus anxiety
The major issue I’ve had coping with the pandemic is the level of uncertainty it presents. We really have no idea how long this is going to last and how many will be impacted.
In a bit to rescue myself from endless worrying, panicking & unhealthy coping mechanism (this is not to say i wont be enjoying the occasional glass). I’ve decided to do the following, hopefully some of these tips will be as helpful to you as they have been for me.
*There is absolutely no need for panic buying.
Yesterday, i went to my favourite Trader Joes to pick up a couple groceries – it looked like a scene from the Walking Dead, all the shelves were picked clean. In a situation like that it’s a little difficult not to feel panicked and fearful – I mean what will my family eat? I scanned the shelves and picked what I could resolving to be back at the store bright and early the next day, you know outsmart everyone else & have my way with the fully restocked shelves.
The next day i arrived at the store at 8:55am and there was a line outside the store about a mile long (I whispered to myself don’t panic). As we were waiting for the doors to open, i saw something that restored my faith in humanity – there was a group of senior citizens who arrived at the store a few minutes after i did and without being prompted by store management, everyone allowed them to go to the front of the line and we all agreed to wait for them to finish shopping before we entered the store #FaithInHumanityRestored…
when i compare this singular act of kindness to the all the experiences i’ve seen on social media, it’s hard to feel alone and like the world is coming to an end.
It also reinforced my ideology on panic buying – there is absolutely no need to panic buy. In times of shortages we should be looking to community survival and not just our own survival. My advise on this is, buy what you need for your family and stock up for a period of 2 weeks – if we all did that everyone would be taken care of as we work together to beat this.
*Create a schedule/routine and stick to it
Creating a schedule or routine gives a sense of control. This helps with focusing on what you can control.
This is the best approach right now because anything that is beyond your control isn’t worth worrying about. If you can’t actually change the outcome, there is no point spending emotional energy thinking about it and hurting from the pain of the thoughts.
Your family and loved ones depend on your calmness and strength whether they communicate this or not. There is only so much you can do and panicking wouldn’t change a thing.
Creating a routine is great because not only will it help you get a structure on your day, it will help ease the anxiety associated with being locked in at home without anywhere to go.
Here are a few examples of what you can incorporate into your schedule to help you have some control:
Eating healthy and hydrating : It is tempting to find comfort in food in between managing your anxiety and trying to keep a toddler entertained (how do teachers do it?)- this part takes a ton of self control. However, this is the best time to take control of what you eat. Try cooking healthy meals and stay hydrated. Not only will this help you feel good about yourself, it will also help with your immunity and you absolutely need all the immunity boosting you can get during this period.
Exercise : Exercising is a great way to take control of the situation and reduce anxiety. When you exercise, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interacts with receptors in your brain and triggers a positive feeling in the body.
I mean endorphins & a summer bod- count me in!!! In addition, staying active has countless physical & mental benefits.
You can make it fun, get your kids and spouse involved, complete a burpee or jump rope challenge or do activities you love that involve moving. Even dancing is a great example of getting in some exercise.
Cleaning and rearranging: This is a significant opportunity to take on all those re-arrangements and house projects you have been putting away because of lack of time. This will keep you busy and take your mind off what is happening. It will also give you a great sense of control.
To be honest, I am not a fan of housework, but I’ve realized that when everywhere is clean and tidy, it gives me a sense of calmness and takes away every feeling of chaos.
Maintaining your regular schedule: Incorporate as much of your schedule as possible while making provisions and allowances for being at home, especially with this new work-from-home dynamic. We need to come to terms with the unique demands of our time. Schedule laser-focused focused on your goals, but remain fluid in your approach”. These are uncertain times, and they most certainly call for some flexibility, and if you don’t believe me, try telling your toddler that 9 am every day is “me time”….. if you can pull that off, please share your methods.
When life as we know it returns, it’ll be a great feeling to look back on this period and be pleased with all that you were able to achieve. As tempting as roaming from screen to screen and snack on junk food, try to fill your day with productive pursuits, even if you have no actual work.
After all, is said and done, I would say always make an effort to find a balance. After a productive day, make out time to watch a movie, unwind and do fun activities that help you relax.
*Stay thankful, positive and optimistic
This is easier said than done, however you’ll really feel better if you focus on the positives of the situation. we have all be instructed to stay home, be thankful that you have a home to stay. Everyone is stocking up on necessities, be thankful that you are able to afford to stock up. Be also thankful that you are able to spend time with your family. Granted, this is not an ideal period and life as we know it has changed drastically, however while we all wait for this to be over, it’s important to stay positive and appreciative of what we have .
It is also very important to stay safe. Acting like this isn’t happening may calm you for a very short period, but that’s not a good plan. It also has the tendency to make one less careful. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, the thoughts and worries will resurface when you least expect and when you are mostly unprepared. If you acknowledge what is on your mind, you can look at the facts and address how you feel about them in a rational way
*Limit social media
At the beginning of the pandemic i was very anxious and panicky because i was constantly watching the news, glued to twitter feeds and news channels on my phone. This was so bad because there is a lot of information out there both the good and the bad.
Of course we need to stay up to date with the news, but we definitely need to limit our obsession with news apps. Not only will this lead to an increase in anxiety it will also lead to a loss of perspective on other things that are happening in your life. Pick a reliable news channel and watch it once or twice a day.
Obsessing takes away the importance of enjoying time with family and being in the moment with them. It can make you feel like the only thing that matters is the effects of the pandemic.
Right now is when everything in your life matters more than ever. For me the most important thing is being here with my family, spending time with people i love, and staying thankful and positive.
There is absolutely no need to be obsessed with the news. The truth is, when life is back to normal you will be aware somehow whether you were glued to the television or not.
*Use other alternative anxiety calming practices
Other calming practices includes; Sitting in a quiet place, taking deep slow breaths, focusing on right now, use positive self-talk, listening to calming sounds ( I find the sounds of waterfalls very calming ).
Using a diffuser with essential oils is also very helpful.Lavender oil particularly can help ease anxiety and stress. Rose oil promotes calmness and reduces tension.
Its true that life is different right now, but its also important to realize that after every event, the world carries on and it will this time.
This will be over and we will all be fine.