COVID-19 Anxiety: Tips to Manage Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

Being in a global pandemic is nothing short of a frightening situation, with entire countries shutting down to prevent the spread. All the uncertainty around COVID-19 is the hardest thing for people and the reason for our escalating stress. You may find it easy to spiral into overwhelming panic and dread.

With so many things out of your control, you must remind yourself of the things that are still under your control. There are many ways you can manage your fears and anxiety amidst this massive upheaval.

It might be tough not to be glued to the TV screen or scroll through the internet to read as much as you can about this pandemic. You must make an effort to stir your mind away from trying to find the unknowable answers to managing your present lifestyle the best way you can.

Whenever you start feeling anxious or get caught up in fear, start shifting your mind towards things you can control. Focus more on work, your family, and other activities to keep yourself and your loved ones motivated during this situation.

Preparing Yourself for Social Distancing/Self Isolation

The most effective way of lowering your anxiety and stress levels is by being prepared. Many people spend most of their time outside the house and rely on schools, businesses, or offices to provide basic necessities, like meals, tea, coffee, and toilet papers.

During the quarantine, you and your family stay at home, which is why you need the right quantity of supplies to ensure everyone stays comfortable. Of course, your needs may vary depending on your requirements and lifestyle. However, here is a recommended list of basic necessities:

Hygiene and Sanitation

Make sure you stock up on these things:

  • Hand soaps
  • Cleaning supplies, including disinfectants
  • Body care, skincare, hair care necessities
  • Baby wipes, formula, diapers, and other supplies, if you have a baby
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer (in case you need to go out)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Toilet paper
  • Supply of prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter electrolytes, cold medicine, cough medicine, and pain relievers

Food Items

There isn’t a definite list of food you should stock up on. It is best to get the food you and your family regularly eat. However, it is important to understand that during a pandemic, you must stock up on food items that will last longer. Raid your pantry and do an inventory of the things you have and what you need.

Here is a list of food items that have a longer shelf life and will ensure you have sufficient food without having to go out:

  • Cured meats
  • Protein powder and smoothie blends
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canned stews
  • Canned soups
  • Canned fish
  • Dried beans
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal and other grains
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen fruits
  • Frozen poultry and meat, like pork, beef, and chicken
  • Instant meals
  • Other snacks
  • Kitchen and Other Supplies

Other supplies you should stock up on, include:

  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Dish soaps
  • Water filter and replacement
  • Cleaning spray
  • Pet food and other treats

It is also wise to ensure all your kitchen appliances are in working order.

Things to Consider When Leaving the House During COVID-19 Pandemic

If you are in quarantine, and not self-isolation, you can leave your house for certain reasons, for instance, buying groceries or medicines. Here are the tips to follow when you leave the house:

  • Wear a mask
  • Keep a hand sanitizer with you
  • Wear gloves
  • Open doors with your shoulder or elbows
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Keep a 6 feet distance from other people
  • Avoid putting your phone on any surface
  • Wipe the trolley handle with sanitary wipes
  • Avoid touching or sorting the produce without gloves or use store-supplied bags
  • Thoroughly wash your hands when you reach home
  • · Sanitize the doorknobs and surfaces you have touched after reaching home

It is also a good practice to wash your hands before you leave the house to protect others.

8 Tips to Battle your Coronavirus Anxiety

It is easy to get caught up in the panic and uncertainty during this pandemic, but the important thing to remember is that there are many things still under your control. Here are some effective ways to manage stress levels:

1. Take Care of your Health

The one thing we learn from this pandemic is the importance of basic hygiene. It is essential to regularly wash your hands and keep things thoroughly sanitized to protect yourself and your family from the virus.

Moreover, a strong immune system can fight against the virus and the symptoms ensuring you stay safe and healthy. Therefore, focus on following a healthy diet that can help you consume the right nutrients and vitamins. Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes, five times a week to maintain your fitness.

2. Create a Routine

Staying at home week after week can surely add to the stress. The best way to manage your anxiety is to stick to the same routine you were following before the quarantine. If you are working from home, then start and wrap up your work within the same time frame. Have your meals on a set time, continue your fitness routine, and even the binge-watching schedule on the weekends.

If you didn’t have a set routine before, now is the time to start. Having a proper structure for the day can help in reducing or even preventing the anxious thoughts. Start a big project and divide it into smaller goals for each day and so on.

Planning your days and setting goals can help you in staying motivated and getting things done, while also helping you cope with the stress.

3. Improve your Work-from-Home Situation

Count your blessings if the nature of your job allows you to work remotely during this pandemic. However, it is not easy to work from home with so many distractions. A task that you can accomplish in an hour at your office might take you double the time to finish. Your productivity is bound to decrease, making you even more anxious.

Fortunately, there are ways to improve this situation and manage your work deadlines. Here are some tips:

  • Get up on time and get ready for work the same way you did before the quarantine. Get dressed and have breakfast to enhance and maintain your productive mindset.
  • Don’t perform house chores during your work hours. It might be tough for many, but working from home doesn’t mean you have to clean up, wash dishes, and do the laundry all through the day. It will only distract you from work.
  • Manage and schedule your meetings by consulting your partner or anyone else you are quarantined with who is working remotely as well. This will ensure that the meetings are not disrupted. However, if you are working in different rooms, this isn’t necessary.
  • · Be sure to take breaks between work and stretch your legs.

Put your laptop away when you ‘clock-out’ of work. this will prevent you from stressing about work or prompt you to check your work emails even after work.

4. Stay Connected with your Family and Friends

Talking to your loved ones is another way of lowering your anxiety. It helps in sharing your concerns and worries with them during this ordeal. Staying in touch with your family and friends also reduces the levels of loneliness.

Call up or video chat someone everyday to manage your stress levels. Social media is another great source of connecting with people. You can also join discussion groups or exercise challenges that can improve your mental health.

5. Restrict Media Content Intake

Indeed, knowledge is power. You should stay updated and educated about the latest information regarding coronavirus to help you make informed decisions. However, constantly watching the news and consuming unnecessary and untrue content about the virus will only add to your anxiety levels.

Restrict your media content to a certain time and reliable news sources. Stay educated and informed, but don’t overload yourself with information. If there is urgent news, you will surely learn about it immediately. The more you look up content, the more stressed you will become.

6. Pay Attention to Things Under your Control

You can’t control the pandemic or the things that are happening around you. Fortunately, you still have control over plenty of other things. Therefore, keep your focus on the things you can improve for yourself and your family.

The best thing you can do right now is to follow the guidelines and advice offered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers of Disease and Control (CDC). Here are a few things you can do:

  • Thoroughly wash your hands
  • Use a sanitizer if you are out and don’t have access to water and soap
  • Keep a distance from others, particularly if they are sick
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your elbow when cough and sneeze
  • Try not to touch your face, especially if you are out
  • Don’t hoard face masks, and leave them for caretakers, medical professionals, and individuals with a weak immune system. You don’t necessarily need a face mask if you aren’t sick.
  • Avoid traveling
  • Maintain a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong

7. Perform Guided Meditations

Guided meditations can help in calming your mind and lowering your stress levels. Taking a few deep, slow breaths and allowing yourself to be in the present moment can do wonders for your mental health. Doing guided meditations for even five minutes a day can be effective in managing your anxiety.

Since the fear is mostly about the unknown future, worrying about what will happen next, or how long will the quarantine lasts, it is essential to gently stir your mind away from the uncertainties and in the present moment.

Be mindful of the moment you are in. Remind yourself you are lucky to be healthy and to have your family and friends just one call away. If you start feeling anxious, take a deep breath through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this a few times, and you will notice yourself calming down.

8. Do Activities you Enjoy

One of the most effective ways of keeping your anxiety in check is to keep yourself busy with things you enjoy. It will prevent your thoughts from spiraling out of control. Aside from paying attention to your everyday tasks, work responsibilities, and home chores, it is essential to add the element of fun in your day as well. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Playing board games with family
  • Solving a puzzle
  • Knitting, painting, drawing, or other creative activity
  • Bake your favorite desserts
  • Binge watch a show or watch a movie
  • Read novels
  • Catch up on your beauty sleep

Feeling helpless in the coronavirus pandemic stems from the lack of power we have over this situation. However, instead of focusing your energy and mind on that, you must focus on things you can do to help yourself and others. Keeping yourself busy doing something productive and performing tasks that you enjoy can keep the anxiety at bay.

These tips can help you in reframing your mental health and allowing you to stay a step ahead in protecting both your mental and physical health.

Remember, you are playing a major part in preventing the spread by staying home. We are all in this together. Help each other to stay safe by practicing social distancing, get extra bread or treats, and leaving them at your neighbor’s door with a note, donate to hospitals, call to check up on your friends and family to keep their spirits up. We will soon get out of this stronger than ever.

In the meantime, if you feel that your worry has become excessive, your physical symptoms of anxiety have started to significantly impair your functioning, or if you just need someone to talk too, please feel free to reach out to one of our caring and compassionate licensed master’s level counselor’s at (248) 692-4013 and we would be happy to help you.