Are you a ball of nerves and anxiety from this coronavirus lately? Can’t sleep at night with racing thoughts on what the future will be like? Right now, it seems like the world is in such uncertain times. If you deal with any type of mental health issue, this is the time where it’s truly being tested. So how do we calm all those nerves and COVID anxiety? What are some actions that you could take right now, today, to help ease some of your anxious thoughts?
1. Every day, set time to calm your mind.
This may look different for everyone. Some people like to pray, some people meditate, and others may do yoga to help ground themselves. The point is to try and take time every day, perhaps in the morning or right before bed, to purposely calm your mind. Focus on something other than what is going on in the world. There are plenty of free phone apps that can help with meditation and deep breathing techniques. With the CALM app, you can choose from 100+ sleep stories and more to help you drift off to sleep or reduce stress and anxiety. HAPPIFY is another app that has activities and games to help overcome worries, decrease stress, and calm anxiety.
2. Practice self-care.
Schedule time every few days for self-care where you can clear your mind and refocus your thoughts. Go for walks, read a book, take a hot bath, do a hobby you love, or stream a fitness class such as yoga.
Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety while also giving you a workout. It can help to bring your mind to a place where you focus on your breath and movement instead of the worries and anxieties. YouTube has plenty of free yoga videos and if you are part of a gym, they may be streaming their classes.
3. Stay away from social media and limit the news.
Watching the news obsessively or constantly following stories and videos about the pandemic will only heighten your anxiety. At the click of a button, there are endless amounts of stories about COVID-19.
However, to help calm your anxiety, limit your time on social media accounts. If you really want to make an impact on calming your COVID anxiety, try deleting the app notifications from your phone, or even deleting the app itself.
4. Start a gratitude journal.
Although it may seem that there is a lot to focus on that is negative, one way to help you see a brighter side to things is to keep a gratitude journal. When you feel your COVID anxiety rushing in and need to calm it down, try grabbing a journal or piece of paper and write down three things that you are grateful for or that brought you joy. When it gets too hard to remember three things to be grateful for, re-read the ones you’ve already written down.
5. Remember your circle of control.
Another way to calm your brain when your anxiety hits is to practice the circle of control. First, draw a circle. Everything inside the circle is what you can control. This includes your emotions, your relationship with your children and partner, your love and kindness, and other items that you can control. On the outside of the circle, put everything you can’t control. Right now, that may be a lot of things. This is where the hard work begins.
It’s good to realize each of these things and it’s okay to get anxious about them because your feelings are true and valid. However, letting that anxiety completely control you is another thing.
Once you’ve made your circle, take a minute to close your eyes and picture putting each item outside the circle in a box or balloon. Then allow that balloon floating away or the box moving further and further from you until it’s not visible. These are the items we have to try and let go of. Obsessing over the things you can’t control only makes it harder to deal with. Focus on the things you can control right now.
6. Take each day one day at a time.
Try not to think too far into the future. With everything changing so much each day try to focus on the here and now. Focus on what you need to do to re-center your brain. Make time blocks for each part of the day as a flexible schedule for the morning, afternoon, and evening. Chelsijo.co has tons of ideas on how to refocus your brain for one task, one day at a time.
Additionally, spend some priceless time with your loved ones. Find something to make memories with your family each day. If you have little ones at home and have no idea how to help entertain them, check out Busy Toddler for some fun, easy, and simple ideas of family fun.
7. Focus on evidence-based facts.
Instead of following scary stories and accounts on social media, focus on the facts and follow reliable sources such as the CDC for the latest information. They can tell you what you can do to lower your risk.
8. Talk about your fears when it’s too much and seek help when needed.
When your COVID anxiety gets too much, simply talking about it to a trusted loved one (family or friend) can go a long way to reduce your stress and anxiousness. Don’t hold it all in because that can make it worse. Finally, if it gets too hard, please reach out for help. Many hospital systems have nurses on-call that will be happy to reach out and support you. There are also several free therapy apps out there to help when you need to calm your anxiety such as What’s Up.
If you are contemplating suicide or self-harm contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Although these days are hard and may feel like the worst of times, hold steady! Realize that it’s okay to be anxious, but there are healthy ways to calm your anxiety and nerves. Through this, we will be stronger and more resilient. We will be able to focus on what’s really important again.
Would you like to work on your wellness? Work with one of our coaches to explore the practice of mindful living, stress reduction and gain control. Learn more about the available coaching program on our Health and Wellness Coaching page.