As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak unfolds, feelings of stress and anxiety get worse, especially for those who have a history of depression or traumatic stress (PTSD).

Uncertainty is one of the hardest things to manage.

7 Keys to Manage Stress and Reduce Anxiety

Calm and Balance

Make a plan every day.

If you are working from home or if you recently lost your job, build on the disciplines you followed at work. Keep a regular schedule. Organize your time to maintain your sense of control and feel more productive.

Exercise every day.

Yes, gyms are closed and we are social distancing. But there are other ways to get physical exercise: walking, gardening, floor stretching and weight training in your own home. Regular exercise helps manage stress, depression or anxiety. Doing yoga or other practices to stretch and relax helps calm your mind and uplift your spirits. Exercising keeps you focused on what is still normal in your life and not changed by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Practice mindfulness.

Being mindful begins with pausing to focus on the present moment. Right now is where you are. You have the power to focus on the right actions and the right attitude. Center your thoughts and be present in this moment. Be aware and listen to your own self-talk. If you find yourself speaking or thinking a doom-and-gloom narrative, try changing it to a message of gratitude. Practice being kind and gentle toward yourself first, then towards others during this challenging time. Remember, we are all doing the best we can.

During this time of the COVID-19, we realized more than ever how connected we are, and how our well-being depends on each other. Ask yourself, who is benefiting from every little action you take? Small acts of kindness can uplift others and make you both feel better.

Eat a healthy diet.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, our food choices are limited. Shopping for food is complicated. Obtaining fresh produce and healthy food can be difficult and as a result, eating healthy is a challenge.

Stress and boredom can affect eating habits. Challenge yourself to not give in to unhealthy eating habits. Plan ahead and create healthy meals. If you have more time being at home, invest it finding healthy recipes with the ingredients that are available.

Take breaks.

The news can get overwhelming. Try to balance your exposure to news with other activities. Disconnect physically and mentally from time to time. Make it a point to turn off the news for a period and play board games or read an old book. Play with your children or your pets.
Take breaks from work during the day and also from your own family members.

We can de-escalate tensions naturally by taking a break. During this epidemic, it is normal to become frustrated with others in your home, spending so much time together. Take a me-break outside in the yard or in a separate room to help you gain perspective and change the energy.

Stay in touch.

Connect, don’t isolate any more than necessary. Fear and isolation can make feelings of depression and anxiety much worse. Reach out to connect with others: family members, friends and work associates. This can be nurturing and fun. We have the tools! Use phone, text, and virtual platforms like Zoom or Facetime to spend more time with your loved ones.

Get your rest.

Coronavirus news is stressful anyway, and it magnifies without enough sleep. Turn off electronics in the evening and drink non-caffeinated tea. Yes, this sound like Grandmother’s advice but it actually can work very well for some people.

Here to Help

During this time of isolation due to the coronavirus epidemic, I am here to help, offering psychotherapy sessions online or telephone visits. Please let me know how I can help you. Remember, reaching out for support is a sign of strength.