The COVID-19 pandemic has had (and continues to have) widespread effects on us all, inducing worry, fear and even panic.
And for those of us with an anxiety disorder, these effects can be more difficult to manage.
Today’s guest post comes from Kate, who shares her experiences and advice on coping with anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis.
Anxiety seems to be never-ending.
There’s always something new to be worrying about and if there isn’t then there’s something from ten years ago to stress over. Due to COVID-19, we are all at home working and living an abnormal lifestyle. An adjustment can be hard and even more difficult for those who have anxiety disorders. Because of the sudden change, there needs to be a change in how we are taking care of ourselves. Take a bit more time to care for your mind.
I’ve tried a couple of different things. These are all unique to me and my own anxious thoughts. If you have something else that works for you please send it in so we can talk! Just because we are stuck inside does not mean we have to deal with anxious thoughts alone.
Here’s my list of ways to manage anxiety during the coronavirus quarantine.
Read a book
If you’re a writer all of this time at home can be stressful. There’s so much time, yet almost no inspiration to be writing. If you’re not a writer at all it can be difficult to find ways to fill the day. Reading is one of the best ways to exercise your mind, learn more, and get away from technology.
Move your body
I’ve seen a lot of people support exercising during this time and while I do agree, I’m not one to go on a run. Because of that I’ve been doing yoga, going for walks, and having dance parties in my room. Release the stress you’re holding in your body and relax. The quarantine can’t stop my dance moves!
Do something you’ve never done before
This is a bit of a crazy time and we can’t do much. Since the sense of normal has been taken away I figured we should all try something new. Little things like this can help distract you from what is going on around you and distractions can be so helpful in reducing anxiety.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Sleeping too much or too little can increase anxiety. It’s important to find that happy medium to keep yourself physically and mentally well. The quarantine has made my sleep schedule a bit wonky, but just trying your best is enough.
Create literally anything
This is one of the best things you can do to help reduce anxiety. Creating music, poems, painting, writing, dancing, and so many other options allows you to express yourself. Through any of those, you may find some outlet to release your anxious thoughts.
Talk with someone
Everyone is going through the same thing. Your friends, family, higher power, therapist, etc. are all willing to listen to what you have to say. Share your anxious thoughts with others so they can help lessen the load you are carrying. You don’t have to do this alone.
Make a list
If making lists causes anxiety then don’t do this one. For some people, lists can help organize thoughts so this may be good for you! Write a daily to-do list, bucket lists, or a list of what you want to do as soon as quarantine is over. Organize and put your anxiety on paper.
Focus on the present
I’ve always struggled with being anxious about the future and the past. This can be so automatic during this time too, anxiety around when this will end seems to be going on forever. The only thing we can control is how we react and what we can do now. Focus on the present- write it down, repeat it as a mantra, and continue to remember that.
Even with these strategies, it can still be difficult, but the important thing to remember is that we are in this together. There will always be anxious thoughts. They change with the circumstances so we must change the way we are coping with them. A self-care routine may look different now than it did before quarantine and that is completely okay. Whatever you are feeling right now is valid. Your thoughts and worries are all valid, but it may help to attempt to shift your focus. At this time we need to support one another and continue to adjust.
The coronavirus anxiety is real, but it can be defeated.
Thank you to Kate for sharing her thoughts on COVID-19 and anxiety. You can find Kate over on her blog, She’s Moving Mountains.
Do you live with an anxiety disorder? How has the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown affected your mental health? Let me know in the comments.