The coronavirus pandemic is affecting our health in not one, but two ways: our mental health is in jeopardy as well. Online therapy companies like Talkspace are reporting a 65% jump in mental health-related cases since the pandemic.
These statistics are no joke – rising unemployment and concern for health, coupled with spare time on our hands, provides a free pass for our brain to spiral. If you already feel yourself getting worked up, take a pause from reading the article to concentrate on deep breathing. The anxiety we feel arises from the uncertainty.
When anxiety seems to have paralyzed you, it looks as if this feeling will never leave you in the heat of the moment. Though, that’s not true. How exactly do you cope with the anxiety that accompanies this pandemic? How do you stop the chaos? Here are some of the healthy ways which will surely bring some organization in this chaos.
Allow Yourself to Feel:
Without passing judgment on your feelings, let them come through without being suppressed or repressed. Allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable emotions, acknowledge them, recognize them, and address them without catastrophizing it. You can allow yourself to feel the fear without any judgments on yourself. Once you have done that, you will feel a lot better as you take the following steps. Without acknowledgment, your feelings will always bubble into existence once way or another.
List the Things that are the Same:
The sudden shift in routine is part of what is stressing us out. It is essential to remind yourself of the things that haven’t changed. The sun is still shining, and the cool breeze still blows. Your garden still blooms, and so do you!
Taper Down the Consumption of Pandemic-related Information:
This is the very first step. Awareness is indeed what would equip you to deal with the pandemic, an overload of information can cause unwarranted anxiety and stress. Consuming more info will not drive the pandemic away. Moreover, there is a lot of conflicting information – the truth is, scientists and doctors are still figuring out the specifics of it. What you should do instead is stay isolated and disinfected.
Stay Connected to Your FNF:
Who said staying physically isolated meant that you had to give up on friends and family? To minimize stress, you need to surround yourself with familiarity. The best way to do that is through frequent video calls to your loved ones. Not only will it strengthen you, but it will also help them bring some sense to this chaos.
Divert your Mind:
Some days, it might be hard to get the pandemic out from your mind. However, you need to realize that this is the best time to explore your hobbies and indulge in anything you have ever wanted to do – binge-watching, painting, acquiring new skills, gaming, you name it! It is also important to realize to give yourself space. If you can’t get yourself to even move from your bed, accept that feeling and provide yourself comfort instead of self-bashing.
Search for Remote Work:
Diverting your mind doesn’t always work, especially when you are unemployed. Firstly, you should realize that it was not the product of your lack of skills or talent. Secondly, accept the situation and search for ways to find a remote job. LinkedIn is the best place you can search for virtual jobs. While you work your way in the virtual work, you can slowly build your skills to apply to a field-related position once the situation becomes more organized.
The above were some of the actionable things you could do to de-stress through workable solutions. The following will help you through coping up with anxiety by series of meditating techniques:
Touch the Ground
Anxiety can make us feel light-headed, but this grounding technique will help trigger a relaxation response. While initiating deep breathing, bring the ground into contact with your bare feet and allow calming thoughts to take over your brain instead.
Play with Water
This therapy is a researched method known to lower stress, tension, anxiety, and depression. Even simply listening to the sound of flowing water is known to instill a sense of calm within you. What’s even better is the sensation of water on your skin. Combat anxiety by giving yourself a peaceful bath. The increased blood flow and loss of excess heat from your body create a physical calm that will be mirrored by your mental state.
Exercises are a well-known method of inducing a state of calmness within your body. As you inhale, you stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, and as you exhale, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated. Taking deep breaths while extending the exhales will improve your heart rate and alleviate anxiety as the body naturally reacts peacefully to relaxed breathing.
Say no to “What Ifs”
A part of your brain, the neo-cortex, is responsible for rational thinking. However, it runs at the speed of light when it perceives a threat, sending you in a trail of “what-ifs.” You soon begin to imagine irrational thoughts about your future, which develop an anxious state within your body. Halt these thoughts and replace them with positive feelings about the good in life.
There are other relaxation techniques that can help you find an organization in this chaos. You have to try a couple of them and feel what works the best for you to bring organization in this chaos caused by the pandemic. Remember, you have survived 100% of your worst days, and with that thought, face this challenge head-on!