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  • Managing Anxiety and Stress through a Pandemic

    In this time of uncertainty, you may be feeling more worried than normal and are noticing negative thoughts getting in the way of your focus or tasks. During a normal day, many of us already deal with stress and anxiety. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and you may feel overwhelmed. Anxiety can plant itself in your mind and grow into a situation that may seem impossible to deal with.

    When you notice these thoughts taking over, pause, and ask yourself if it is true. The fact is these thoughts are most likely not true. Times of crisis can be mentally taxing. The best thing you can do is to make sure you are pouring from a full cup.

    You cannot help yourself or others if you are struggling mentally, emotionally, or physically. Try the following tips to help you cope with your anxiety and stress:

    1. Simplify your to-do list.
      • Minimize or eliminate unnecessary activities. Focus on the things you need to get done and let go of the less important things until the crisis is over, so you have more time to focus on what is important.
    2. Take deep breaths.
      • Try focusing on your breath instead of anxious thoughts. Take a deep breath in while counting to five, hold for five seconds, and breathe out for five. Repeat this at least three times, more if necessary, to help calm you down.
    3. Use aromatherapy.
      • Certain smells, like lavender, have a proven calming and soothing effect. When you feel yourself getting worked up, light your favorite calming candle, diffuse oils, or use a room spray to trigger the receptors in your brain to help alleviate anxiety.
    4. Eat well.
      • Try to eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals when you can. A multi-vitamin is a great way to make sure you get vital nutrients if you are struggling to get them through your diet.
    5. Move your body.
      • Sometimes the best way to get out of your head is to get into your body.  Go for a walk, follow a workout video, or take a few minutes to stretch. Movement can help shift your focus and help you (literally) walk away from the situation causing you stress.
    6. Get a good night’s rest.
      • Sleep is crucial for managing stress. Make sure you get a full night’s rest and are maintaining normal sleep/wake hours. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night, talk to your doctor; they may suggest taking supplements to help aid sleep.
    7. Stay connected.
      • Social and family connections are even more important during a time where we are being asked to stay isolated. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to talk to family and friends. Since we cannot physically be with all our loved ones during this time, make sure to schedule time to FaceTime, Skype, or set up a Zoom call to stay connected.

    Although this is a stressful time, remember that this pandemic is temporary. We are all managing the best we can given the circumstances. Until life can return to normal, it is important that you take the steps needed to care for and support yourself.

    If you would like to speak to someone about better managing your stress and anxiety, please peruse our website or call (717) 782-6493 for more information.