Being calm during a pandemic may seem counterintuitive yet it is just what is needed. The truth is there is no way to completely prevent anxiety and stress during a global crisis, after all, the world is trying to navigate the new realities of COVID-19 day-by-day. But, putting a few strategies into practice can certainly help relieve some tension.
How to Be Calmer
- Breathe: You have probably heard it already but, take a moment to breathe. If you find yourself in a moment of panic or defeat, pause and inhale deeply from your nose, expand the breath through your chest and belly, then release it with a sigh. Repeat if you need to and do it whenever you feel the need to move energy. Taking deep breaths calms the nervous system, increases energy, lowers blood pressure and decreases stress.
- Get Into Your Body: Most people are bound to their homes during these times, making it difficult to carry out the usual tasks, resulting in a sedentary lifestyle. Bring some movement into your body each day, even if it is for a few minutes. Walk around the block if you can, practice yoga, take an online fitness class, or find creative ways to work out. Doing so will momentarily get you out of your head while releasing endorphins, making you feel more positive.
- Spend Time Offline: For many, there is an impulse to constantly check the news, social media, and messages to see the latest updates on the virus and its effects on the world. It is important to stay up to date with the news and how it will personally affect you but it becomes unhealthy when the checking becomes obsessive or all-consuming. Fearmongering, bypassing, and hate speech contribute to anxiety and depression. Take breaks from your phone, TV, and radio so that your mind and body can rest from all the different opinions and biases it is bombarded with through the media.
- Creative Project: Repeating the same patterns of TV binges and mindless scrolling can only entertain for so long. Find a way to distract yourself with a purposeful task. For example take up a new hobby like cooking Italian cuisine, learning Spanish, redecorating your home, or learning to sow. The resulting feeling of contentment is more sustainable through these types of distractions and they can be therapeutic.
- Buy a Plant: Nature is known to boost moods. So, during a time when there are some restrictions on being out in nature, a plant can be helpful. Playing “Mother Earth” to a plant can help you feel in control when everything around you feels out of control. It can also help you relax, feeling cheerful with its beauty.
- Video Chat: The new model is to connect with people via video chat, and it is what will keep us socially connected. Check in with friends, family, colleagues, and your care providers to see how they are doing and to share how you are dealing with the pandemic. Participating in group chats with loved ones and co-workers you regularly interacted with, face-to-face, can bring some sense of normalcy into your life during quarantine. Additionally, your therapist can be of great support to help manage anxiety about the state of the world and with any trauma being triggered through the crisis.
For more information on how to cope with anxiety during Coronavirus, please contact Trauma and Beyond Center ® at 818-351-3511 or visit us at traumaandbeyondcenter.com.