To those of you who feel scared, confused, and anxious about COVID-19, you are not alone! Many of us are experiencing this new normal of self-quarantining, social distancing and working from home. Whether you are in NYC and alone in your apartment or with family at your childhood home, we are all trying to figure out how to adjust to this new way of life while also remaining positive and keeping busy. The number one thing to think about during this time is control. Ask yourself: What do I have control over?
Here are a few things we have control over that we can try to focus on while you are at home.
Breathing: Breathing is a way to relax and release any tension in your body. It is a helpful technique when feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the changes COVID-19 has brought into our lives. (Of course, this is helpful when feeling overwhelmed in any aspect of our life.) Try placing your hand on your abdomen, breathing in for 4 seconds, pausing for 4 seconds and then exhaling for another 4 seconds. You can do this multiple times to slow down your heart rate, relax your muscles and release any tension in your chest.
Exercise: Getting some sort of physical activity is important both physically and mentally during this time of self-quarantine. It allows you to have a moment to yourself and is an opportunity to do something that is just for you. Exercise releases tension in our muscles and gives our mind an escape. If you have a type of movement or exercise that you practice every day, then continue with that routine. If you are not someone who has worked out in the past, trying stretching every day as a start. There are also so many live streaming workouts available online!
Routine/Schedule: I am sure you have been hearing this everywhere! Having a routine/schedule in your day will create a sense of normalcy and purpose each day we wake up. We know that we don’t have plans or anywhere to go, so having a schedule each morning will help us get through each day with intention and purpose. Plan out your meals and video chats with friends or family members as you would any other social activity! Make a list of any chores or activities you would like to have completed once quarantine is over. Pencil these into your schedule each day to hold yourself accountable. When we feel overwhelmed, it is so easy to lose our sense of routine and remember the things that make us feel good, but having the schedule already planned is a way to avoid the sense of uncertainty.
Self-Care: Coming from the busy streets of NYC to social distancing is a major change in many of our lifestyles. For a lot of us, we went from working long hours, squeezing in dinner with friends, doing for others and constantly on the go! Suddenly, we find ourselves with no social interactions and with a lot of newly found free time on our hands. Use this opportunity to take a moment for yourself. Give yourself a moment of alone time away from your family or significant other. Use your downtime to do some self-care. Here are some examples of self-care:
Give yourself a relaxing face mask
Get outside and take a walk
Listen to music
Take a drive around the block (if you’re in the suburbs)
Do your hair and make-up (as if there is somewhere to go)
Complete house chores (that you always say you're going to do - but can never get to)
Limit Social Media and News Exposure
Right now it might feel like all there is to do is talk about COVID-19, but in reality constantly talking about it and listening to it on the news might be contributing more to your anxiety. It is okay to not want to talk about it with your family, friends or significant other. You can use language like “I’d rather not talk about that right now. Can we talk about something else?” COVID-19 is all over the news and media outlets. Limiting the exposure to news and social media will help to decrease our anxiety. Of course, it's important to stay in the know, which is why limiting it rather than completely turning it off can be a helpful tool when feeling overwhelmed. If other people you are living with want to watch the news more often, this could be a good time for some of that self-care I mentioned above. Remove yourself from a situation that you do not want to be in. Also, by limiting the amount we watch can help us to live in the moment and take it day by day.
Remember, you are not alone in this! We are all adjusting to this new normal. Having a safe space to speak to someone if you're feeling anxious, overwhelmed, worried, sad or depressed can help prevent these feelings from increasing and feeling too big to manage.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you’re struggling right now! As a community, we all need to be there for each other.
We are continuing to provide psychotherapy services here at Liz Morrison Therapy via teletherapy – please do not hesitate to reach out for further support by calling 347-758-2985 or emailing Liz@LizMorrisonTherapy.com