How to Manage Your Coronavirus-Induced Stress and Anxiety
This ever-more-challenging year of 2020 has thrust people around the world into uncharted territory. For many, the coronavirus pandemic has caused feelings of stress and anxiety stemming from fear of getting or passing the disease, feelings of isolation, economic uncertainty, and so much more.
As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), stress and anxiety — especially during a pandemic — can impact your health in a number of ways and result in such things as changes in your sleep or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening of chronic health issues, and worsening of mental health conditions.
So, what do you do when you’re grappling with these feelings? How do you cope? Here are some tools we’ve found very helpful over the last few months.
1. Meditation: Mindfulness and other meditative techniques have helped us feel more grounded during a time of such turmoil — and there’s a science-backed reason why.
According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, regular meditation helped individuals "dealing with stress-related problems, illness, anxiety, and chronic pain." The study involved 174 adults in a clinical Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.
Headspace offers a great how-to guide for meditation beginners, giving you guidelines for how to sit, what to wear, how much time you need, and more.
2. Know You’re Not Alone: Many people have shared how isolated and scared the pandemic has made them feel. There’s even a Netflix docu-series called Coronavirus, Explained with an entire episode dedicated to the impact of the virus on our mental health. We’d recommend watching that to remind you that you’re not alone in this endeavor.
Additionally, we’ve bookmarked this list from the CDC of places we can call for help if we need it. It includes hotlines, an eldercare locator, treatment-services guidance, and more.
3. Occupy Your Mind: Audiobooks can sometimes be easier to capture your attention than a physical book (we love listening to them while on socially distanced walks!), and there’s an abundance of free ones on OverDrive’s app Libby. You can borrow both audiobooks and e-books from local libraries to have on your phone, tablet, or Kindle OverDrive. And, in case you don’t know where to start, you can reference OverDrive's list of recommended reads.