If someone asked you how you’re feeling right now, what would you say?
Stressed? Overwhelmed? Fearful?
You’re certainly not alone.
Anxiety levels are increasing across the United States and the globe, as millions face uncertainty in regard to their health and finances.
6 Ways to Combat Stress and Anxiety in Response to COVID-19
1. Eat a balanced diet
Your diet has just as much of an impact on your mental health as it does on your physical health. For example, if you’re eating a lot of processed foods that cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, this can actually contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
In comparison, healthy foods, especially healthy fats, will have the opposite effect. These nutrient-dense foods create favorable hormone signaling in the brain, supporting moods, sleep, energy levels, and more. While planning your next big grocery shop, be sure to include foods such as bananas, leafy greens, avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and whole grains.
Suffering from depression? Here’s a great nutritional guide!
2. Do not overload on information about the coronavirus
Due to social isolation, you’re likely spending the majority of your time indoors. If you continuously scroll your newsfeed every hour, you’re bound to feel anxious.
There is a lot of great, factual information out there. However, there is a lot of information that is simply adding to increased anxiety levels. As stated by the World Economic Forum, “facts, no fear, will stop COVID-19.”
Poor information can help disease spread, whereas good information can help halt it. If you do want to remain informed, check-in a couple of times daily, relying on credible sources. Spend the rest of your day focusing on self-care.
3. Focus on the variables you CAN control
If you’re feeling a reduced sense of control, this can contribute to higher stress levels. For example, you cannot control what others are doing, especially in regard to social distancing. However, you can control the measures you and your family take.
You can choose to follow the recommended guidelines, wash your hands often, and limit trips to your local supermarket. Once you begin to focus on the things you can control and less on those that you cannot, you will feel more empowered – and safe.
4. Seek help
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, impacting as many as 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1 percent of the population each year. If you are living with a preexisting mental health condition, it’s imperative that you seek the support you need during this time.
Here are some great resources to assist you:
- Five Daily Lifestyle Changes to Manage Intrusive Thoughts
- Treating Anxiety without Medication
- What You Need to Know About Online Therapy
5. Remain active
Exercise in any form can help reduce stress levels, as physical activity boosts feel-good endorphins while distracting you from every day worries. Whether you want to kickstart a new home workout or begin practicing yoga, this is the perfect time to do so.
To maximize the benefits of your home exercise program, get friends and family members involved via video conferencing apps such as Zoom. This will allow you to increase physical activity and remain connected with loved ones during social isolation.
6. Start journaling
Journaling can help you better organize your thoughts, clear your mind, and better facilitate problem-solving. All of these equate to lower stress levels.
Not into journaling? Do something that makes you feel relaxed. From art to gardening, woodworking to cooking, take this time to do the things you love.
Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 resources here.