I could talk all day about anxiety. It’s something that has affected me all my life – and still does. But anxiety has gotten on a whole notha level when this pandemic hit!
2020 has been a hectic, stressful, crazy, and anxiety-driven year – filled with fear of illness, job loss, and political drama.
I am certain that people who don’t normally suffer from anxiety have been suffering this year. And business owners, like yourself, are having to juggle their anxiety with running a successful business – that’s even more stressful!
It hasn’t been easy for any of us. I know this year has been challenging to me and my family – but we are making it through. And you can too 😉
You have to find ways to cope with the anxiety that this pandemic has brought upon us. Which is why I’ve invited guest blogger, Caitlin Lemon from Caitlin Lemon Writes, to talk about how to manage anxiety during a pandemic. Let’s read what she has to say…
How to Manage Anxiety During a Pandemic
**Please note the following is not meant to replace medical advice. Please contact your physician for appropriate diagnosis and treatment of any mood disorders.
The last seven months have felt more like seven years.
And along with coronavirus, there’s another serious pandemic emerging.
If you’ve been plagued with the feeling of overwhelm, fear, and uneasiness these last few months, you’re not alone. The Washington Post reports calls to an emotional distress hotline are up a whopping 1,000%.
And it’s certainly understandable. News reports constantly update the death toll to a deadly virus 24/7. Too many people are losing jobs or even their loved ones. And sometimes feeling anxious can make us even more anxious in a vicious cycle.
What can you do? Well, first, give yourself some grace. You’re living in uncharted territory, with no shortage of anxiety triggers.
Second, Laurie Santos, who teaches the “Science of Happiness and Wellbeing” course at Yale, advises not to run away from those anxious feelings. Rather, acknowledge and accept them.
Third, know that although you can’t cure anxiety, you can manage it.
And I know a thing or two about that. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. It was shocking. I’m someone who’s gotten on stage for performances or to do public speaking. None of that aligned with what I knew about anxiety.
But that’s when I realized how little I knew about it. And if you’re someone who suspects you have an anxiety disorder, chant with me: “I will not fall down the Google rabbit hole.”
Suddenly a chipped nail means you have nail cancer. No good comes from googling medical stuff.
As someone with years of practice riding the dragon, I want to help you. I’m sharing some of my favorite tactics to help you manage corona-anxiety.
5 tips for managing anxiety during the pandemic:
- Add movement in your day
- Stay hydrated
- Do a gratitude list
- Know when to get help
I’m a big believer in the power of meditation. And no, I’m not a hippy. I first discovered it 4 years ago while doing something called “Early Entry” at my university.
Which is doing graduate work while in undergrad. My classes went from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Needless to say, I was stressed out. My anxiety was soaring in a high-pressure environment.
I downloaded an app called Calm, which I’ve since fallen in love with. The meditations range from 5 minutes to sometimes up to almost an hour. It even has kid-friendly meditations, for those moments when the only way you’re going to get it done is by having your little one do it with you.
Meditation has lots of benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of meditation include everything from reducing stress, to managing depression or anxiety to even managing high blood pressure or cancer.
It doesn’t have to be hours a day or at a certain time, do what’s available to you. Personally, I choose to meditate in the evening to wind down from the day. It helps me pause from making that mental to do list of what needs to get done tomorrow and helps bring me back to the present moment.
And you don’t have to have a paid subscription to enjoy the power of meditation. There’s plenty of free options out there. The app Insight Timer is available for free and offers multilingual options. Be sure to also check out this free meditation for stressed out moms.
As a nice bonus, meditation can also reduce cravings for things like alcohol, which has seen an uptick in purchases during the pandemic (but please note that if you’re someone unable to stop drinking, this doesn’t replace medical help).
Add Movement to Your Day
Yes! Moving your body around can actually improve your mood! We were not designed to be sedentary creatures. And with more work taking place on screens plus taking care of the kids or a sick loved one, it’s so easy to neglect our own bodies’ needs.
But there are ways to squeeze extra movement into your day. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Maybe don’t park right in front of Walmart (as long as it’s safe to do so) to get in a few extra steps during your shopping trip.
Or try doing jumping jacks or stretching during commercial breaks. I personally do sun salutations while making my morning coffee.
Take the dog for a walk (both your furniture and your dog will thank you). If it’s too difficult to carve out time to squeeze in a long walk, that’s okay. Maybe you can space out a 30-minute walk with three 10-minute walks. Find ways to squeeze in exercise “snacks” during your busy day.
This may seem obvious, but how often do we forget to drink throughout the day because we’re wearing so many hats trying to get it all done? Make sure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
Dehydration can be harmful to your physical health, including your skin and heart health.
I take a water bottle with me anytime I go out the door. As a writer, it’s easy for me to lose track of time when I’m in the zone, so I also keep one by my desk to make sure I’m drinking plenty of fluids. If it helps, consider setting reminders on your phone to make sure you’re getting enough water.
Do a Gratitude List
Confession: I rolled my eyes when I first bought my gratitude journal. I first learned about doing gratitude lists during a, you guessed it, meditation practice.
I wasn’t completely sold at first. It really was just going through the motions. But like starting off with any new habit, whether it’s a morning walk or learning French, you have to be persistent. I made a habit of doing it every evening. Now, it’s an ingrained part of my nightly ritual.
The benefits of gratitude are tremendous, and gratitude is even incorporated into the curriculum at Yale’s “Science of wellbeing and happiness” class. According to NPR, some research studies already point to better sleep, lower stress levels (which is a huge plus if you’re anxious), and even decreased risk of heart disease.
Every day, at a time, that works best for you, come up with three things you’re grateful for. Feel free to list more than three things, but I challenge you to come up with at least three. You can write it down on a piece of paper, in a journal, or even use apps (yes, there’s an app for that!).
Know When to Get Help
Ultimately, listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, anxiety can still get one over on us.
And it has nothing to do with your self-worth and definitely is in no way a failing on your part.
Reaching out for help takes courage, and it makes you empowered. If you’re in crisis, text the National Crisis Text Line to be connected with a trained crisis counselor at 741-741 (USA and Canada). Or 85258 if you’re in the United Kingdom. Yes, you’re a busy mom with a never-ending list of responsibilities.
But remember, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.
About the Author
Caitlin Lemon is a copywriter, blogger, and ghostwriter for hire. She enjoys writing copy that helps solopreneurs and small businesses reclaim their weekends. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her planning her next trip or chasing her border collie. You can see more of her work on her website or LinkedIn.
Anxiety is manageable! And Caitlin has some great ways to keep it under control. Always remember that if you get too overwhelmed with anxiety that you can always reach out for help.
Life is too short to worry – so remember to love yourself and keep that anxiety under control. Don’t let the pandemic stress you out, and don’t let your business overwhelm you either. Take a breather if you need to.
Make sure to comment below and let me know any tips or tricks you’ve used to help destress and manage your anxiety through this pandemic!