The following article was written by Anne Menik for CEO in Her.
The 2019 novel coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. With the fear of the pandemic reaching you or someone you care about, the rates of unemployment as high as they were during the Great Depression, and the burden of isolation during quarantine, it’s a scary time to be alive. This is why it’s more important than ever to learn how to manage your anxiety, avoid panicking, and stay grounded.
In a recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association, 36 percent of Americans said the pandemic has had a serious impact on their mental health. In another survey, 31 percent of Americans said they experienced sleep disturbances due to anxiety, and online mental health services like Talkspace have seen an unprecedented increase in demand for – up by 65 percent!
We’re afraid of getting sick or seeing someone we love get sick. The risk of unknowingly spreading the virus occupies our thoughts. We’re afraid of losing our jobs and not having money to pay our rent. The fear is real, so it would be insincere to downplay it. However, getting mentally sick is just as real as the fear of physical sickness, so we must protect ourselves.
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, here are some tips for you to stay physically and mentally healthy during these crazy times.
1. Stay connected.
According to the American Psychological Association, depression and anxiety thrive in times of isolation. Prior to the pandemic, nearly half of all Americans claimed to feel often or always alone. As you can imagine, this figure increased during lockdowns. Physical connectedness is not a possibility during quarantine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with people emotionally.
Contact your friends (old and new), your family, your colleagues, even your gym buddy. Reach out to people. It’s a mutual gift. Download Zoom for video calls, and after a while, you’ll feel like you’re in a room with your friend.
When we are stressed or anxious, we forget to breathe. We take quick, shallow breaths that increase our heart rate and anxiety. To increase feelings of calm, take slow, low, deep diaphragmatic breaths in and out through the nose and practice Buteyko breathing. To read more about Buteyko breathing, please click here. A study that tested the efficacy of Buteyko breathing for anxiety found that it was able to significantly reduce anxiety.
3. Stimulate your senses.
When you feel anxious or panic-stricken, you often disengage with your body. Think about the last time you felt anxious: your mind was racing but your body was on autopilot, you forgot whether you brushed your teeth even though your mind was buzzing. Not being present is a symptom anxiety exacerbates, so it’s important to stimulate your senses to help feel grounded. This can be done through deep breathing, meditation, and using essential oils – preferably combining them together!
What is happening in the world right now is unavoidable, but it’s your choice to either engage in fear and panic or in grounding work, stress reduction, and focusing on the good. Even if you can’t see it right now, some good is in all situations, so focus on that and let it manifest.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” –William James
Article written by Anne Menik. Follow Essential Anne at www.essentialanne.com for more on looking, loving, and living healthier. Learn more about her story on our blog, or reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media by clicking here.