Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The ongoing status of the COVID-19 pandemic has been very concerning to all and there is continuous sense of uncertainty regarding the world, the economy and our “normal life” as we knew it. Research is anticipating a significant increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms among individuals who do not have pre-existing mental health conditions, and some to experience post-traumatic stress disorder in due course (Cullen et al., 2020).
If you are feeling a sense of anxiety, stress, feelings of nervousness, scared, unsure of what life will be like moving forward…… you are not alone!
1. Talk to someone about what you’re feeling, thinking and experiencing currently. Don’t let your thoughts ruminate in your mind alone, this is an on-going cycle and it is better to acknowledge and talk to about these thoughts. Talk to a trusted support or reach out to a therapist.
2. Limit/Set Your Boundaries. Whether it would be setting your limitations regarding excessive exposure to media coverage, or setting your boundaries when it comes to your partner, family or a friend- this is a key factor in managing your anxiety currently. The constant monitoring of social media and news regarding COVID-19 can increase feelings of anxiety, worry and distress. Set boundaries in terms of daily news- or take a break for a few days to allow your mental health to recover. Limit the intake to 10-15 minutes a day only, as opposed to having the news on all day in the background. This will also allow you to focus on your life and the actions/behaviours you have the power to control, rather than feeling completely out of control and feeling scared.
Further, in regards to relationships; it’s important to set your boundaries, and communicate your boundaries assertively, and address any conflict before it intensifies- and be honest about your feelings, as we are all under great amounts of pressure and stress currently.
3. Breathe. You may think this is something irrelevant or small and have not been mindful as to the impact this has on your anxiety. Research has clinically proven that practicing deep breathing significantly lowers your heart rate, which decreases the physical symptoms of anxiety. Practice your deep breathing techniques during this time and incorporate this into your daily routine. You can start by breathing in four counts; hold for four counts, and then breathing out for four counts, then hold again for four counts.
4. Sustain a Sense of Hope & Practice Positive Thinking. Try to think and appreciate the things that are positive in your life. Think of positive experiences, what you’re currently grateful for, connecting with your loved ones, positive images and perhaps people who have experienced COVID-19 and who have recovered.
5. Play & Laugh. Engage in something fun you enjoy doing, that promotes joy and pleasure in your life and releases some happy endorphins, dopamine and serotonin! Whether it would be playing a game, watching a funny movie or Youtube videos, allow your happy hormones to release during this overwhelming time!
Hope you enjoyed this read! Remember let’s stay safe and healthy; and overcome this challenge together!
Cullen, W., Gulati, G., & Kelly, B. D. (2020). Mental health in the Covid-19 pandemic. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113(5), 311-312. Chicago