COVID Anxiety Tip #1: Question the assumption that “I need to be informed.”
Is more information always better? Be conscious about whether anxiety/worry is driving your media usage. You have learned what precautions to take. Does anything in your life change with more details of the already known pandemic? Do more statistics give you any more control or make you feel less in control? My clients now confirm that anxiety is going down proportionate to their media exposure going down. I invite you to just question the assumption.
COVID Anxiety Tip #2: Create some normalcy every day.
We are feeling unsettled because so much of our “normal” has been changed all at once. Resume (or maintain) an old habit, or do something mundane that feels normal. I like to keep my kitchen counter cleaned up during the day. One of my clients likes to make avocado toast every morning for breakfast. Whatever your “normal” was… keep doing some of it!
COVID Anxiety Tip #3: Find something else to talk about.
I’m finding this is one of the top strategies that’s helping my clients. It’s harder than you think because this pandemic affects so much of our lives. Please try it!
COVID Anxiety Tip #4: Set a 30-day goal.
To combat the unsettling feeling of being “stuck” home and the stress that comes with that, set a goal so you have something NEW to show for yourself at the end of 30 days. Learn to cook a new dish each week or learn how to make homemade pasta, read a book a week, train to run a 7 min. mile, take a continuing ed course, walk 10,000 steps per day for increased fitness, spring clean the whole house, learn to play chess – you name it! Something that has a tangible result for you at the end of the month. Fun, distraction and a sense of purpose is proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
COVID Anxiety Tip #5: Mindful Belly Breathing.
FREE! I’m giving away my Mindful Belly Breathing Guided Meditation. The best form of meditation and relaxation I know! Calms your mind and physiologically calms your nervous system. You get the most bang for your buck by investing 15 minutes a day. Much better ROI than watching another episode on Netflix. Click HERE to get the instructions and FREE Guided Meditation.
COVID Anxiety Tip #6: Commit a random act of kindness.
You can do this right from your home. Act on purpose. Get creative. It leaves you with a feeling more powerful and longer lasting than anxiety. Love and kindness are stronger than anxiety.
COVID Anxiety Tip #7: Think WHAT IS (not What If)
In the middle of this pandemic, it’s hard for the brain to stop thinking about “What If” scenarios. This type of thinking inevitably leads to worst case scenario thinking. This is not only unproductive but it also spikes anxiety. Can you shift to WHAT IS thinking? I mean WHAT IS right now in this very moment: are you and your loved ones OK and safe right now in this very moment? Try to shift your thinking to focus more on today and less on future What If thoughts.
COVID Anxiety Tip #8: Be a Sleep Warrior.
Good sleep is one of the best ways to combat anxiety. But it can be hard to sleep when you’re anxious. Be protective of your sleep and make it a priority. Click HERE for basic strategies to get you started.
COVID Anxiety Tip #9: Stop Telling Yourself Scary Stories.
What are your thoughts about possible future scenarios? What scenarios are being repeated in the media? In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, scary storytelling about the future is called “catastrophizing.” It makes you feel worse and increases anxiety. It’s called storytelling because you do not know the future – you are using imagination. STOP. You are in charge of your thoughts! You can choose to tell scary stories or hopeful ones. Choose wisely.
COVID Anxiety Tip #10: 3 minute Loving-Kindness Meditation
Loving-Kindness Meditation (also called Metta) comes from Buddhist traditions. It is one of the easiest types of meditation for anyone to do. Here’s easy step-by-step instructions.
COVID Anxiety Tip #11: Feel Your Feelings. Don’t Stuff.
Your feelings in this pandemic are normal! It’s common in such an extreme situation to stuff our feelings. Sometimes we worry that feeling fear or sadness is weak. Sometimes we’re afraid of our feelings and don’t want to feel worse. THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE in this situation. Stuffing increases anxiety. Admitting and acknowledging your feelings helps your brain to process and release them. YOUR FEELINGS ARE NORMAL. Acknowledge them to yourself by journalling, or talk to a someone you trust. Please don’t stuff.
COVID Anxiety Tip #12: Try Self-Compassion.
Instead of being hard on yourself for not handling this situation better, learn how to have compassion for yourself as you go through his incredibly difficult situation. Most of us are being way to hard on ourselves. Learn what I mean by self-compassion and how to do it.
COVID Anxiety Tip #13: Chalk Your Walk
Using your right brain CREATIVITY helps distract your brain from worry and negative thinking. Double down on the anxiety-reducing benefits of creativity by adding kindness and positive messages when you Chalk Your Walk.
COVID Anxiety Tip #14: Relax into the Normalcy of Spring
Our lives are not normal during this pandemic. We never even used the word “pandemic” before! It makes us unsettled and anxious. But look around! Mother Nature is normal. Don’t just get outside… reduce anxiety while you’re out there by paying attention to the normalcy of nature. Take pictures of Spring. Look for buds on the trees. Count the birds and animals you see. Say thank you to every creature you see. Notice how relaxed nature is – you can be too.
COVID Anxiety Tip #15: Calm Mind Meditation
I’m now offering my Guided Calm Mind Meditation FREE to support everyone during this pandemic. Our minds have been on overload for weeks now. This is a great way to relax, particularly when you are having trouble turning your mind off. You don’t have to do anything other than follow along. Click HERE to use my FREE MP3 online or download to any device.
COVID Anxiety Tip #16: Watch the GOOD News
Here’s a validated and factual source of ONLY GOOD NEWS about COVID at well as other topics. [Yes! There IS news about other topics every single day.]
COVID Anxiety Tip #17: Make a List of What’s In Your Control
Anxiety is correlated to feeling out of control. In this crazy and intense situation, there are so many things that feel out of your control. Ugh. But there are also things that are IN YOUR CONTROL and learning to focus on those decreases anxiety. Make a list. Thinking about it helps but a written list helps even more. What’s in your control?
COVID Anxiety Tip #18: Let Yourself Punt
Give yourself a break and know that you are doing your best during this crisis just like everyone else. We are all punting every single day. Any given decision, any given behavior, any given day – all you need to do is give it your best shot under the circumstances. That’s enough.
COVID Anxiety Tip #19: “Quarantine Crafts”
It’s a thing! Google it for lots of ideas. Positive distraction, sense of productivity and accomplishment when you’re done, calming, right brained to give your left brain a break, fun. It’s all good!
COVID Anxiety Tip #20: Congratulate Yourself for Adapting
Seriously. Look at the last 3 weeks. You have done an amazing job at adapting to an unbelievable situation. Yes, it is still hard. Yes, you are still adapting. But you’ve got to admit – you’ve come a long way baby! How does this help reduce anxiety? It’s proof that you can get through this. You are resilient and you are doing it!