We are living in difficult times and have all been impacted in some way by what’s happening in our world. A public health crisis has raised anxiety for a lot of people.
Anxiety and the immune system have an interesting relationship. Elevated levels of anxiety can compromise the immune system by weakening it and making a person susceptible to sickness. Anxiety puts stress on the body so if we want to maintain or strengthen our immune systems, it’s important for us to learn how to control our anxiety.
I wanted to share a list of ways to help manage increased levels of anxiety and distress that many may be feeling right now.
- Stay connected Physical distance doesn’t have to mean emotional distance. Reach out daily and stay connected with family and friends.
- Limit exposure Check on news updates no more than twice per day (ideally in the morning but not first thing and towards the end of the day). If there’s anything you need to know you won’t miss it but you also won’t be overwhelmed by too much information.
- Self-care routine You may be at home more than you’re accustomed to so it’s a good idea to create some structure to your day.
- Know that it’s okay not to be okay It’s okay if you’re scared, worried or even angry. These are not normal times for any of us and we’re all doing the best we can to get through this. Don’t criticize yourself for how you’re feeling.
- Focus on your mental health Find things that nurture you, relieve stress and keep you grounded. Some find mindful coloring relaxing or maybe engaging in a daily meditation exercise or yoga practice. If you’re really struggling and need support, I and many other therapists are seeing clients for online counseling.
- Keep moving Most gyms, if not all, maybe closed but there are endless fitness videos online you can use at home. Get outside and go for a walk (of course still practicing the recommended physical distance to minimize exposure to sickness).
- Be productive Now’s a good time to reorganize that closet you’ve been thinking about or decluttering your home. Clearing up your space might help you feel calmer.
- Take care of your body Avoid the temptation of snacking all day and eating sugary foods. Nourish your body by eating well and staying hydrated.
- Catch up If ever there was a good time to catch up on that book list you made, movies, shows or a podcast, it’s now.
- Show gratitude The busyness of life can sometimes get in the way and consume a lot of time and attention. Use this time as an opportunity to slow down, find things to be grateful for and express your appreciation for what’s good in your life. Focus on what you can control.
Hang in there and know that this too shall pass. None of us know when but we know it will eventually.
All things are only transitory.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe