Managing Anxiety During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Feeling Anxious? We all are. The Coronavirus pandemic challenges us to change our routines and practice social distancing. But is there a light at the end of the tunnel? This crisis creates an opportunity for us to be mindful about boosting our immune system. It can also teach us to be intentional about managing our stress. And the best part is, it can help us to learn to navigate through a crisis to bring you and your partner closer together.

Click here to listen to my podcast: Manage Your Anxiety Around CoronaVirus.

What is anxiety?

It is normal to feel sad, scared, frustrated or angry when things seem like they are out of our control. It is also normal to feel a level of anxiety or worry. This is how the brain signals you to pay attention because something stressful is happening.

Money, health and relationships represent the things that we usually stress over. And now we have the added stress of managing the Coronavirus pandemic.

When you are feeling anxious, the brain releases cortisol and endorphins which trigger you into fight-or-flight.  In this mode of self-preservation, you may be inclined to either fight or flee from an unfavorable situation to keep yourself safe.

However, experiencing anxiety, worry, and panic on a consistent basis is not healthy. If you are encountering these feelings regularly you may be dealing with a mental health issue that would be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder.

When we feel anxious, it may feel as if life is happening to us.  We feel a loss of control. But the truth is that life is happening for us.  Switching to this mindset can make everything seem more manageable.

Here are THREE areas to become more intentional about when managing your stress and anxiety around the Coronavirus. These will empower you to have a healthier life and will bring you and your partner closer together as you navigate this crisis:

  1. Be intentional about boosting your immune system

Be sure to drink plenty of water. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water.  To make it tastier, try cutting up fruits and adding mint to a big jar of water that you can drink throughout the day. You can also cut up oranges or squeeze a lemon into your water bottle.

Eat your fruits and vegetables. Each meal should contain plenty of vegetables or you can make one of your meals only vegetables. An assortment of colors on your plate is healthier for you. Double up on garlic and onion when cooking. Garlic and onion purify your blood from toxins and can reduce the severity of the common cold and the flu.

If cooking isn’t your thing, take vitamin and mineral supplements to boost your immune system. A healthy body will resist and fight off a virus and prevent an infection.

  1. Be intentional about managing your stress

Do you know that your breathing can either calm your nervous system or trigger a panic attack? When feeling tense and/or worried take deep belly breaths. Since we carry so much stress in our shoulders, roll the shoulders back and take three deep breaths through your nostrils and exhale softly. Your belly should expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale.

If you are still tense after the breathing exercise, try bouncing to shift your energy. Stand up. Bend your knees, keep your feet planted on the ground and bounce for 30 seconds. Let your arms jiggle. Your knees are doing all the work. Pause for 15 seconds then try it again. You’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed.

Limit your news consumption. No binging on the news as the news is a trigger for most people. The news media informs us about all the negative things that are happening in our world and about unique circumstances that don’t happen on a regular basis. Limit the news to a few minutes on your ride to work or to the gym in the morning and on your way back home in the evenings. Stay away from things that trigger your fears!

Instead of watching the news in the evening listen to happy or relaxing music or watch a funny or romantic movie. Your brain can only focus on either joy or fear. Choose the things that warm your heart.

Your brain loves routines.  You need good quality sleep to de-stress and restore. Create healthy habits around bedtime.  Have room darkening window treatments. Dim the lights. Take warm baths and add lavender oil.  Drink warm tea that promotes sleep. Listen to sleep meditations on YouTube.

Our social activities have been cut back to the bare bones. Take the opportunity to create healthy habits by exercising every day and when experiencing high-stress levels try doubling up. If you go to the gym in the morning, then in the evening after dinner, go for a walk or a yoga class.

Don’t forget about creating healthy eating habits.  Stay away from sugar and alcohol because they do not manage your stress but create more of it.

Step up your spiritual practice. Pray, meditate and stay in contact with your spiritual family. Give thanks for the blessings in your life and rest assured that God is in control.

  1. How to navigate through the crisis to bring you and your partner closer

Be intentional about how you show up in your relationship. Be mindful not to spill your stress or irritability on your partner or family. Respond to them, not from scarcity and fear, but rather from love and abundance.

Be vulnerable and ask for what you need. In most cases what you need is to express how scared and uncertain you feel. The antidote is having a loving partner who listens to you and can respond to you with affirming words.

You may also be needing to be embraced or hugged to calm your distress. As social beings, not only do we need to be heard, but we also need touch. When we are touched, oxytocin is a hormone that is released into our bloodstream that makes us feel happy. Oxytocin also increases our ability to trust.

Anxiety is a fear-based disorder. Fear is the absence of faith and trust. Love overcomes fear and restores faith. It’s how we are wired. In times of distress or crisis, becoming more mindful of our behaviors and more intentional about our health and our relationships empowers us to go from surviving to thriving in love, life and relationships!

If your fears and anxiety around the Coronavirus continue, don’t suffer needlessly. Anxiety disorders are treatable and can be healed. Online counseling and telehealth are available. Click here to schedule a Free 15-minutes Consultation.