By Callie Albaugh, MA, LAMFT
The COVID era is a consumption of unsettling and worrisome news. It can feel as though we can’t escape the constant discussion of the unfortunate state our world is in. We turn on the news, scroll through Facebook, or talk to our neighbors across the street (six feet apart, of course) and are bombarded with varying information from varying sources. It can feel overwhelming.
Whether you have a history of Anxiety or not, it is natural for many of us to experience a heightened sensitivity to anxiety during this time of our lives. Anxiety incites a fear of the unknown, and it can come in all shapes and sizes. For some, heart rates may increase or you may feel pressure or discomfort in your chest. Many experience worrisome, uncontrollable, and racing thoughts or feel ‘keyed up’ or ‘on edge’. It may be difficult to sleep or eat during the day. We seek comfort of knowing in an unknown time. The Anxiety in not having answers right now can feel all-consuming. Below are ten things you can do to manage the day-to-day anxiety you, or a loved one, may be experiencing.
- Turn off technology and spend time in the real. Have meaningful conversations with friends and family that do not consist of COVID-19.
- Square breathing. Draw a square and follow the edges with your finger.
- Breathe into one edge for four seconds
- Hold the breath for four seconds into the second edge
- Breathe out for four seconds along the third edge
- Hold once more for four seconds along the final edge.
- Repeat this process ten times.
- Download Headspace, an app that provides short guided meditation and mindfulness practices. Start and end your day with a session.
- Practice grounding. Sit in a quiet room and focus intently on:
- Five things you can see.
- Four things you can feel against your body.
- Three things you can hear.
- Two things you can smell.
- One positive affirmation.
- Color with your kids, or by yourself! Coloring can be soothing and light up the creative portion of your brain.
- Immerse yourself in a new skill or subject to learn.
- Go for a walk. Get outside and breathe in that fresh Spring air! Move your body and enjoy the calmness of the outdoors.
- Exercise. In a time of stillness, give your body a chance to move and stretch throughout the day.
- Cook foods that are nutritionally-balanced. In times of stress, your body needs its full tank of healthy energy.
- Telehealth support. If you are experiencing unmanageable Anxiety, reach out for support. At Traverse, our providers will connect with you and your family to provide therapeutic support.
Take each day as it comes. Anxiety tells us to worry about the future, and quite frankly, our future is a mixture of unknown possibilities. What we can control is how we manage today, how we interact with those around us, and the narrative we want to hold and create for this time in our lives. Live your life through the values you and your family hold.
To Traverse is to travel across, through or around a difficult barrier. We can, and will, walk through this difficult barrier together.