While we’re practicing safe social-distancing, we’re staying indoors a lot more. Between all that’s going on with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the break in our normal routine, you might be starting to feel a little anxious. But as we already know, excessively worrying doesn’t make anything better.
Regardless, finding peace in a time like this isn’t easy, so we decided to consult an expert. Alice Boyes, PhD, author of The Anxiety Toolkit ($12.17, Amazon), teaches how to deal with stress effectively, so we asked her for her top tips on handling coronavirus anxiety. Check them out below.
Don’t watch the news as much.
Dr. Boyes advises that even though staying informed is important, you should be careful not to overdo it. “Set some limits on COVID news consumption if you’re finding yourself watching hours a day of coverage,” she says. “Yes, it is a fast moving story but if you’re watching many hours per day, understand why. [It could be because] you’re seeking a sense of community, a sense of more certainty — so look for ways to get those needs met in a better way.” For example, spend time talking with family or friends on the phone or video chat to get more social interaction. If you’re seeking certainty, follow her next advice…
Dr. Boyes says that there’s value in sitting with the fact that we still don’t really know how things will turn out. “For instance, I have rental properties and have to accept that I don’t know whether my tenants will be able to pay their rent,” she says. Instead of thinking about worst case scenarios, she has decided to take things one day at a time.
Use the time wisely.
Dr. Boyes reminds us that it’s probably a rare occasion that we’re spending so much time at home, so why not make the most out of it? “Use the opportunity to get around to something you have wanted to do, but have never had the time,” she says.
Better yet, get your family involved! “In my own family, we put our tent up in our backyard and we are practicing camping out. We’re doing marshmallows, but in the backyard!”
Adopt a routine.
Even though we’re spending a lot of time in the house, Dr. Boyes emphasizes that a routine can help you feel some sense of normalcy. “Pace yourself,” she says. “We could be in this for a while. You can’t sit at home doing absolutely nothing, so try to find some productive routines while isolating.” Try adopting a morning or evening ritual!
Offer a helping hand.
A great way to feel like you’re a part of the greater community, despite social isolation, is to find a way to give back. “Consider whether your family can offer help to others,” Dr. Boyes suggests. “Like this teen who is offering free math tutoring for younger kids via Zoom.”
Brush up on stress-management techniques.
In our hustle and bustle world, we’re not used to taking a moment to pause. While we’re socially isolating, Dr. Boyes suggests that we take the extra time to learn how to unwind. “Use this as an opportunity to learn stress reduction and anxiety management skills that you will have with you for life,” she says. “We often don’t prioritize learning stress reduction skills, but a crisis can provide the motivation for that. Try restorative yoga on YouTube.”
Ask for help.
If you’re feeling really worried, or you’re having trouble living life as you normally would because you’re in an at-risk group, Dr. Boyes emphasizes that it’s important for you to reach out to your community. “Ask for help if you need it: ask a neighbor to grocery shop for you if you are at high risk due to age or other medical conditions. Giving other people an opportunity to help in a specific way will likely make them feel good.”
If self-isolating and news binging have been getting the best of you, try any of Dr. Boyes suggestions, and we’ll guarantee that you’ll feel a bit better. And of course, be sure that you’re getting enough rest. Need help winding down at night? Try this relaxing yoga routine you can do right from your bed!