If you’re feeling extra anxious these days due to COVID-19, you’re not alone. The pandemic has been causing a lot of extra stress for everyone, even for those who are physically healthy and at low risk for coronavirus complications. The uncertainty as well as the need to practice social distancing have been disorienting and challenging to navigate. While we must remain vigilant on practicing proper hygiene to maintain physical health, it is also incredibly important for us to check in with our mental health and find ways to relax and unwind. Here are some ways to cope with the stress from COVID-19.
Stick to a Routine
During times of crisis, it is very important to have a routine you can follow. While your daily schedule has likely been significantly altered since the onset of the pandemic, establishing a consistent routine can offer you something that is not easily found right now: certainty. “When people don’t have a routine or structure to their day it can cause increased stress and anxiety, as well as overwhelming feelings, lack of concentration, and focus,” explains Dr. Rachel Goldman, psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine. Routines and rituals are important in times of uncertainty because they help us feel more in control and centered, while helping us gain a sense of ownership over our time. Start by establishing a healthy morning routine that will set you up for a productive rest of your day.
“When people don’t have a routine or structure to their day it can cause increased stress and anxiety, as well as overwhelming feelings, lack of concentration, and focus.”– Dr. Rachel Goldman
Another proven method to help cope with the stress caused by COVID is journaling. Research has shown that recording thoughts and feelings on a regular basis helps people process negative thoughts and ultimately alleviates feelings of anxiety. During this time of crisis, it can be helpful to spend some time every day writing down and reflecting upon your feelings and experiences. You can write about anything – from your thoughts on the new state of ‘normal’ to your goals for the day.
Self-isolation and social distancing can induce feelings of boredom and loneliness. This is why we have to make an effort to stay connected with one another. You may not be able to visit family and friends in person, but you can certainly hop on a video call or join an online forum to chat with others about your personal interests.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the panic – especially when you’re consuming all that negativity from the news or see empty toilet roll shelves when you visit the supermarket. Sometimes, it can be helpful to shut out the outside noise and tune in internally. Meditation has been demonstrated to help with managing anxiety. If meditation is completely new to you, you can start by using an app. Some of our favorite beginner-friendly apps include:
Headspace: App founded by meditation expert Andy Puddicombe, currently offering a free “Weathering the Storm” COVID-19 meditation series
Ten Percent Happier: Meditation app that connects users directly with expert teachers who provide coaching on the basics of meditation
Calm: A portal to peace of mind offering guided meditations, walking meditations, body scans, masterclasses, Sleep Stories and more.
Treat Yo’ Self
It can be easy to throw yourself completely into work or other matters and forget to take care of yourself. This is especially relevant for those of us working from home. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for freelancers is the inability to separate professional and personal life. Sometimes, indulging in a little self-care is the best way to cope with stress. From curling up with a good book to relaxing with a face mask, there are countless ways to show yourself some love. Treat yo’ self and alleviate some COVID-induced anxiety!