Dealing With Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

Cornerstone CounsellingBlog Post

In these times of uncertainty, everyone is worried. These worries can be helpful in assisting us to determine what needs to be done to avoid dangers. It is, however, important to manage our anxiety so that it does not become overwhelming.

Strategies to manage anxiety include:

Let it go– While COVID-19 is on the news and in most conversations, it is important to avoid ruminating about it. To do this you can apply three steps:

  1. Thought stopping. Tell yourself that you cannot think about it all the time as it will just make you unhappy.
  2. Be in the here and now, be in the moment, be aware of what you need to do right now, and appreciate what is in front of you this moment. Pay attention to the sounds, sights, smells, and tastes that are part of your world right now.
  3. Positive self-talk. Create a script of messages that help you to reframe the situation to be more hopeful. Phrases such as, “This is temporary” or “I can do things to keep myself and my loved ones safe” can be helpful. 

Change– Do what you can to maintain your safety. Follow the guidelines provided by the medical specialists. Wash your hands, do not touch your face, and maintain personal distance.

Distraction– A busy mind is less likely to be a worried mind. Do things that you enjoy to occupy yourself in positive ways. Bake, knit, play card games or board games, watch Netflix, do those tasks that you have been putting off, read, paint, draw, journal, do puzzles, or do crossword puzzles.

Healthy Lifestyle– A healthy body will help you to feel more resilient and to think more clearly. A healthy lifestyle involves maintaining good routines for sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

Support System– Maintain contact with those you enjoy talking with. Use the media that works for you to chat, joke, share news, and share worries. Engage in the spiritual or traditional practices that bring you peace. As mentioned in yesterday’s update from Dr. Hinshaw, select a cohort family to support and share the burden of self-isolation.

Relaxation–  Take time to rest, take it easy, chill out, and stay calm. Lie down, do yoga, stretch, listen to music, or do t’ai chi. There are many free programs available on YouTube.

Outdoors, Fresh Air, and Sunshine– Being close to nature often improves mental health. Ideas include walking outdoors, bike riding, building a snowman, hiking trails, sitting on a park bench, or enjoying the view. Let the sun shine on your face.

Fun and Laughter– It is very important to enjoy good humor as laughter reduces stress. Joke with friends, watch funny videos or movies, read humorous books, and reminisce about silly events from the past. 

Gratitude– Express appreciation for the blessings in your life. Pay attention to the small things that enrich your life, not just the big things that you value. Be grateful for the good cup of coffee, the comfortable sofa, the funny television show, the good companionship with those you care about, the delicious dinner, or the trees that will soon be budding. 

If you need additional support, please call Cornerstone Counselling at 780-482-6215 to learn more about our services during these challenging times. 

Blog post by Dr. Marliss Meyer, Registered Psychologist