Managing Anxiety in an Ever Changing World

Photo by Simon Schmitt on Unsplash

Across the United States, communities are beginning to reduce restrictions on the stay at home orders, and businesses are beginning to reopen. After eight weeks of quarantine, many people are excited and running into stores, crowding campgrounds, and getting haircuts. Their glee is palpable as they rush to return to “normal life.”

For others, the thought of resuming where they picked up before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown may be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. Hundreds of thousands of people have contracted the virus, and too many have died.

Across the country, nearly 100,000 friends, family members, and coworkers’ lives have been lost. We grieve them.

Medical staff, mental health workers, grocery store employees, and other essential workers have continued to work to ensure that our basic needs are met. Many have risked their lives to provide physical and mental health, food, and safety. We thank them.

In the midst of this, we have experienced the loss of our daily routine and structure. Many have been out of work; high school students have missed out on graduation ceremonies, church services, and movie nights. These are the predictable markers in our calendars, the mileposts in our lives.

Without these events, life does not feel normal.

Over the past several weeks, we have become experts at physical distancing, creating and wearing face covers, and limiting our visits to grocery stores. We have found a new way to live and work.

Life may not feel normal for some time. Jobs are uncertain, travel is limited, and the threat of COVID-19 continues.

However, while many things are different, managing anxiety during a pandemic differs slightly from a few months ago.

Limit News and Social Media Consumption
Limit your viewing of the news to just once or twice per day for a few minutes. Constant consumption of the data, contradicting information and arguing only fuel anxiety.

Reach Out to Friends, Family, and Coworkers
We have been fortunate to have access to video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, Webex, Google Hangout, etc. These have provided us with face-to-face communication with those who are important to us even when we can’t be together in person. Use this technology to connect regularly with those who are important to you.

Get Rest
There has been a lot of hype on social media about quarantine projects. People who are remodeling their homes, landscaping their yards, creating CrossFit gyms in their home, sewing hundreds of face coverings for charity. It is okay if you don’t have the energy to take on additional projects. Many of you are working from home unexpectedly or became instant teachers to homeschool your children. Do what you must do and then rest: take a nap, curl up with your favorite book, play board games with your family, re-watch your favorite movie.

Take each day as it comes. Some days you will have more energy and focus, and on other days you will need more rest.

Listen to your Wise Mind and give it what it needs.

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