During a crisis, it’s expected for people to feel unsure, nervous, confused, irritable, and anxious. Even if you’ve never had anxiety before, experiencing anxiety under these circumstances is understandable. Remember, you’re not alone and there are things you can do to make coping with it much easier.
The World Health Organization and CAMH both have excellent resources for coping with anxiety during this pandemic.
Here are five of the top tips from these resources.
1. Consume Credible News
News outlets are covering the virus all day, every day. Often, news segments are highly emotional and intense. You may notice your anxiety gets worse when you watch them. Instead, CAMH recommends only consuming credible news from authoritative, unbiased sources. That includes the WHO, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and Health Canada. While it’s important to be informed, understand your limits for news intake. Allow yourself the time to tune out and destress.
2. Look for Ways to Help Others
It’s simple: helping feels good. When you’re feeling anxious and stressed, consider looking for small ways to be of service to others. That could mean making a phone call to check in on a friend or asking an elderly neighbour if you can help with their grocery delivery. Post something uplifting to your social media feeds. Check-in on the healthcare workers and supply chain workers in your life. Spread positivity because it makes others feel good and it also helps you feel less stressed.
3. Don’t Isolate Yourself
Yes, social distancing is crucial right now. However, that does not mean you must emotionally distance yourself from others. Socialization is an important tool for coping with anxiety. Make use of all the wonderful technological tools you have access to like Zoom and Facebook. Start a virtual book club, host a virtual dinner party, or schedule a video call with a different person each day. Lean on your support system and know that you’re not alone.
4. Respond to Your Anxiety
Anxious thoughts can sometimes make you think that the worst-case scenario is always around the corner. CAMH suggests constructively challenging these thoughts. Ask yourself if your thought is fact-based and if it’s making you feel good or bad. What proof do you have that your thought is credible? Learn to replace catastrophic thoughts with factual ones. This guide can help you to learn the skills you need.
5. Remember How Resilient You Are
Just because this pandemic has never happened before doesn’t mean you haven’t faced equally hard things. And, you got through those things. When your anxious thoughts lead you to believe this is the end of the world, remember past examples of your resilience. By listing some of the difficult things you’ve faced in life, you can remind yourself that you are capable, strong and resilient.
While each of us will experience the stress of this pandemic differently, we are not alone. As we explore in a recent blog post, we encourage you to have strength for today and hope for tomorrow.