As the events surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic unfold, it is understandable that you might begin to feel increased stress, fear, and anxiety. Use the tips, resources, and strategies below to help you feel more calm during this uncertain time.
Tips for Mental Health During Uncertain Times
- Maintain social connections. Having strong, positive relationships with others provides a cushion of support that can help you get through tough times. Utilize technology like video chats and texting to help you stay connected even when physically separated.
- Think positive (or neutral). Even though your feelings may be overwhelming right now, try to stay positive or at least neutral. Focus on what you can control by setting small goals for yourself so that you can feel productive and purposeful every day.
- Manage your media consumption. If the constant news is causing you an excess of stress or anxiety, reduce your media intake. Try limiting watching or reading the news to one or two designated times during your day.
- Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep can boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick. Being well-rested also helps with mood and can lower anxiety.
- Move your body. Staying active is always important, but it is particularly valuable during a stressful period. Physical activity naturally boosts mood and reduces stress.
- Seek help. Talking about your stress, fears, and anxiety takes away some of the power they have over you. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential, short-term counseling services for benefit eligible employees and their dependents.
- Try relaxation methods. Mindfulness, meditation, or yoga are all effective techniques for lowering stress in the body. Try one of the videos or resources linked below.
Four Tips for Responding to Anxiety and Fear
From WELCOA COVID-19 Employee Education Packet
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present and paying attention. Everyone will be multi-tasking more than usual during this time of uncertainty. As often as possible, create time to do just one thing. For example, close out your email when working on projects so you can focus without distraction. If possible, take a few minutes each day to be silent and let your mind, body and soul rest.
Gratitude: Pause and give energy to being thankful. What are you grateful for? This practice helps even if you don’t say them out loud. It is a very helpful response to feelings of scarcity and comparison and has actually been shown to lead to higher levels of happiness.
Stretching: Being quarantined in your house can make you feel cramped. Stretching can take a few minutes and make your body feel more expansive and release physical tension.
5-4-3-2-1: Take a moment to notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste. This practice can bring you back into the present moment and bring awareness to your body. This practice is really helpful when you find yourself processing all of the potential outcomes and current unknowns or feel your thoughts spiraling.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. It sends a signal to your brain to calm down and release physical tension.
Yoga for Stress Relief
Gentle yoga can help you control your breath, clear your mind, and relax your body.
Body Scan Meditation
A body scan meditation is one of the most effective ways to begin a mindfulness meditation practice. It can help you develop a mindful awareness of your bodily sensations, and to relieve tension wherever it is found.