As I wrote on Tuesday, there’s plenty in the world to be anxious about – now more than usual. And while I hope everyone is doing the necessary preparations and taking proper precautions, I also know that it’s a very stressful time, and fear and panic can also do a number on our health if we don’t keep it in check.
Since that’s the area of expertise I feel comfortable speaking on (I’ll once again refer you to the CDC and the World Health Organization for the other information), I’ve found five tips, tricks and techniques that can be used to manage anxiety – about this or anything else going on in your life.
Stick to a Schedule
Whether it’s written down or committed to memory, routines can be helpful if you feel like things are out of control. Even if it’s only one or two things you do on a daily basis (shower, drink your coffee, eat lunch), establishing those patterns can be something to look forward to when everything else is thrown out of wack.
One of the misconceptions about deep breathing is that you should take the deepest breath you possibly can, and let it all out. What this phrase actually means is more “taking slower, longer breaths from your stomach to counter the short, rapid breaths that you default to when stressed or anxious” (via UW Medicine). It’s a difficult practice to maintain at first, but once you get it down it can be a good stress reliever.
Schedule a Time to be Worried
This might sound counterintuitive and while I don’t necessarily do this often, I do know people who do this on a consistent basis. Setting aside a specific time to think about what’s making you anxious means that you’ll have time to think about what’s actually making you anxious, and having a specific time to feel that way means you won’t spend other parts of the day trying to keep a lid on your anxiety.
Be Aware of Your Triggers
Another way to phrase this is ‘know what sets your anxiety off’ so that you can be ready for it. You might not always be prepared for a situation that might set this anxiety off, but understanding what things could trigger you, whether they’re internal or external, can be yet another preparation that softens the blow for when you’re triggered or when the anxiety hits.
Take Care of Your Body
Whether this means exercising, good sleep habits or eating right (maybe all three?), maintaining our physical health goes a long way toward improving mental health. While it won’t get rid of all of your anxiety, like other tips listed here, it should be something that alleviates feelings during parts of your day.
I hope these tips help as we try to navigate anxiety during this time. Stay safe out there everyone, and take care of yourselves!