Even the best of us are experiencing heightened states of anxiety right now, it’s even worse for people living with mental health conditions.
Avoid mainstream media if it’s making you upset.
Rather than tuning in to CNN or any other mainstream media source, if it’s making you panic then just turn them off. Watch the daily White House updates for yourself to get the latest information from the task force, if you’re not a fan of the President mute him when he’s speaking. There are real experts working on this and they deserve to be heard. Visit the CDC, Homeland Security, and your local government’s websites to get the most up to date information possible.
Do everything you can to keep yourself as mentally and physically healthy as possible.
This means getting lots of sleep, exercising every day for at least 30 minutes, taking vitamins– especially immunity boosters like Vitamin C and Zinc, and avoiding processed foods and sugar. This can be hard when we’re stockpiling canned goods right now, but try and make the healthiest food choices you can given the circumstances.
If you’re buying canned foods stock up on beans and veggies as well as meat. I have canned turkey and chicken at home, no idea what it’s going to taste like but this is our world now.
One of the things I observed when I visited my local stores was the pasta and ramen aisles being completely cleaned out– bad idea. Not only does pasta use a lot of water to prepare, noodles are just extra useless carbs you don’t need. Grab a big bag of rice instead: it’s cheaper, uses less water, and is much healthier.
Now is the time to develop new skills or return to abandoned hobbies.
It’s really tempting to just park ourselves in front of the TV and bingewatch the latest shows on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. This can be useful as far as connecting with friends (more on that later) but ultimately, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to use this time to develop new skills or pick up hobbies you abandoned when adulting got in the way?
Maybe it’s learning to knit, or picking up painting, or teaching yourself how to change your own oil– we have an entire world of educational videos on YouTube and BitChute we can take advantage of, consider using this time to invest in expanding your knowledge.
“Stay Apart– Together”
I keep seeing this slogan tossed around encouraging social distancing. While we have to stay physically apart, that doesn’t mean we can’t get socially creative. Maybe you and all your friends or family can set up a time where you’ll all sit down and watch the same movie over a group call, Google Hangout, Skype, etc. Maybe now’s the time to set up a book club, Vulture recently published a Pandemic Reading List if you feel like giving everyone nightmares.
Most importantly: remember the seniors in your lives. On a good day, our seniors are scared. They’re isolated, bored and unsure of the future. Imagine how amplified those feelings are right now. If you know a senior who’s isolating to protect themselves make sure to reach out and call them. Hearing a familiar, friendly voice can mean all the world to them right now.
Keep your mind and body occupied.
Remember the best way to combat anxiety is to keep your mind and body occupied. Develop new skills, learn new things, read more, clean your house– cleaning is my absolute favorite self-care routine. I used to be a complete and total slob, especially when my depression was at its worst. I discovered the incredible healing power of just cleaning my house.
If this seems overwhelming, start small. Pick one room, one counter, one area, one bookshelf– one shelf on that bookshelf– whatever you need to do. Set your mind to making that space as clean as possible, not by moving things to another spot but actually putting things away and clearing out all the dust. There is something so rewarding about setting a small goal like that and then actually doing it. It’s a small way to make yourself feel successful and accomplished, and added bonus you get a clean house.
These are just a few tips I learned about managing anxiety while I was a crisis hotline counselor. I’ve found all of them to be incredibly useful for managing my own anxiety and depression, I hope they can help you too.