With everything going on these last few weeks, there is a heightened sense of worry and fear looming over us. It seems everywhere you turn there is another reason to be fearful. What if I run out of food and can’t get to the store? What if my company has to let me go because of this economic downturn? Not to mention the virus itself.
There is only so much you can control right now, so listen to the guidelines from reputable sources for what you can do right now (wash your hands, social distance, etc). As the worry and fear start to creep in for what you can’t control, here are a few things you can do right now to feel a little better:
Find Gratitude: Start making a list of what you are grateful for. Even on days when the world overwhelms us, there is still something to be grateful for. Start with one thing. Anything. The sun is shining. I woke up this morning. Sit down for five minutes to write anything that comes to mind. There is research on gratitude showing that by taking a few minutes each day to be grateful, it affects your brain and not only your emotional well being, but your physical well being as well.
Just Breathe: It seems so simple that it can be easily overlooked or dismissed. According to research controlling your breathing can actually calm down your brain and even reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension. There are many calming breathing techniques that can be used, but start with something simple, like consciously paying attention to your breath and allowing it slow down. Stop what you are doing and calmly breathe in through your nose and silently say to yourself “in”. Slowly and calmly breathe out through your mouth and silently say to yourself “out”. Try this for just a few minutes and see how you feel afterwards.
Move your body: Get up and move! This could be taking a walk or run outside, doing a workout video at home or anything that gets your body moving. In addition to the obvious physical benefits of exercise, numerous studies show that exercise is associated with reduced levels of anxiety.
Reach out to someone: Check on a neighbor that might not be able to get out of their house right now, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, join an online group. While we may be distanced physically right now, there are a number of ways to reach out to friends and loved ones.
Take a break from social media and even the news: Consume the news in moderation. Our minds are not equipped to deal with information overload and a constant state of panic. While you can certainly stay informed, don’t let it overtake everything else in your life at the moment.