Who could have known that in 2020 a worldwide pandemic would drop a massive pile of stress and anxiety on top of all of us and change literally everyone’s way of life? No one, that’s who. But that’s what happened.
It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, including fear, frustration and even grief during such stressful times. But we’re not powerless. We’re all in this together, so here are a few tips for coping with this mess from some of the most knowledgeable experts out there.
1. Take Care of Your Body
Exercise regularly. Even one session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces anxiety, and even short bouts of physical activity are beneficial. Centers for Disease Control
2. Make Sure You’re Sleeping Enough
Your body needs rest in order to recover, so now isn’t the time to stay up till 3 a.m. binge watching a new show. Cleveland Clinic
3. Practice Mindfulness
If you already have a mindfulness practice (or have learned the skills at some point), this is a great time to try and practice every day, or as many times as possible during the day for at least five minutes or so. Stanford University
4. Focus on What You Can Control
If you, like many, worry about getting exposed to the coronavirus every time you leave your house, try changing your focus to what you can do rather than what you have no control over. For instance, you can stay six feet from others, you can wear a mask, and you can stay home as much as possible to avoid unnecessary contact. Health.com
5. Reach Out and Stay Connected
Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Check in with your loved ones often. It can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Centers for Disease Control
6. Do Anything That Helps You Relax
Such as catching up with your favorite TV shows, reading more or taking the opportunity for walks. It may also be a good time to try something new. Almost all of us have something that we’ve always wanted to do, such as learning to play the guitar or learning to paint. There are amazing YouTube videos for learning all kinds of things from our homes, and now we may have more time to pursue these hobbies. Stanford University
7. Acknowledge Your Feelings
If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. Mayo Clinic
8. Be Patient With Yourself and Others
Make a list of your personal strengths and use these to help both yourself and others stay emotionally strong. Show kindness to people who may not have a support system or are isolated. There may be limits to what you can do in reaching out, but a little kindness may be just what someone needs. Red Cross
9. Respect Differences
Some people need to talk while others need to be alone. Recognize and respect these differences in yourself, your family and your colleagues. American College of Cardiology
10. Give Yourself a Dedicated Workspace
If you’re working at home, any place with internet access can be an office. Try to set an agenda for the day and create a regular routine. Remember to take breaks and connect with others. If there are other people in your home – spouse, children, roommates – acknowledge that there might be distractions. Work together as a household and proactively communicate your situation to your manager. Red Cross
11. Stay Informed
Keep up with accurate, reliable information from trusted sources. Avoid social media accounts and news outlets that promote fear or rumors. Red Cross
12. Seek Professional Help if You Need It
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Mayo Clinic
Many people need extra support during these times. A therapist can help. See if you qualify for free therapy in Charlotte, NC today.
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