Today, I sit in my home for the third week, anxiously awaiting the day that the stay-at-home order (due to COVID-19) is lifted. As it is, there is at least the rest of this month left of being at home, people working remotely, children learning through online classes, and only “essential” businesses and activities being permitted. While we all sit and wait, people are beginning to deal with regular panic attacks and depression. So what can we do to help stifle the negative energy that is surrounding us during these trying times?
- Have a support group. “Social distancing” can be a dangerous term because the last thing we need is to limit socializing. Right now, we need “physical distancing.” Loneliness is a playing a huge factor in this country’s mental health struggles. Call up a friend, join an online community, and plan Skype activities (like a trivia night with friends).
- Keep yourself busy. This is the perfect time to pick up that new hobby you’ve been putting off, and the distraction can be therapeutic. Start a garden, learn a new language, or learn to paint. Learning via YouTube may even become your new hobby.
- Follow health and safety recommendations. When you know that you’re taking care of yourself, you can relieve some of the anxiety of your own health. The CDC has a list of guidelines that you can use to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Using this can not only help you stay safe, but also ease your anxiety.
- Create an anxiety kit. A bag of items to help your ease your anxiety is a great tool. Include things that use all five senses and that you already know will help you feel better. My personal anxiety kit includes a picture of my kids, EOS vanilla bean lip balm, headphones, a fidget spinner, and lavender oil.
- Check in on others. You’re not the only one struggling! Call or message those whom you care about to check and make sure that they are coping well enough during this tough time. Doing so will help strengthen that bond, as well as let the other person know that he or she can come to you during a struggle. It will also help you to feel good about yourself, which released chemicals in your brain to help fight off depression.
We are all in this together. Let’s each do our part to each other however possible – and, most importantly, take care of ourselves.