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7 Tips for Managing Anxiety In A Pandemic

It’s Mid-March 2020 and I’m not exactly sure who started this round of Jumanji, but baby it is ON!. As if Kobe passing wasn’t enough for us to be emotionally drained, we are literally living through a pandemic, an illness where transmission occurs worldwide.

The World Health Organization states “Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans”.

Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Innanets in general, we have this juicy hybrid of panic stricken warnings and hilarious memes that can easily feed our anxiety. And for everything that we don’t fully know about “The Rona”, as we have affectionately nick-named it, there is one thing we do know: it is temporarily shutting down life, as we know it.

Bottom line: we have to manage our anxiety.

We have to intentionally be in tune with ourselves and put things in place to remain calm and level headed. Having anxiety during this time isn’t the issue. Allowing your anxiety to run you and hold you hostage in a state of fear and panic is very much an issue. As a therapist that specializes in anxiety, who better than to drop 7 quick tips for managing anxiety in during a pandemic??

1. Be informed without being overly informed. It is okay to disconnect. You don’t need EVERY single detail about everything going on in the world. It is completely appropriate for you to be informed enough to take the information and do what is necessary to take care of you and your family. 2. Don’t be afraid to do what’s best for you and your family. You know what will and will not work, based on the specific needs of your family. Don’t let someone else shame you into thinking that you shouldn’t do what you know is best for you! Evaluate your individual situation and make moves based on what makes sense for you. 3. Anxiety is contagious. Be aware of who you are around. It is important to recognize your ability to manage your own feelings versus how others manage their feelings. Just because someone else is panicking or up in arms, does not mean that you are also required to panic. It is perfectly appropriate for you to remain calm. With everything that’s going on in our world, you don’t need to be ashamed or feel guilty for not panicking. 4. This too shall pass. Sooner or later, we’ll look up and this whole season will be “remember that one time?”Keep this in perspective: what seems like a giant monster today will get smaller as we drive away from it. Just keep moving. 5. Do what you can to maintain some sense of normalcy. Exercise, watch your shows, play board games with your family. As the government shuts down and prohibits certain leisurely activities, take this time to reconnect with self, family, and friends. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your activities! Try group video chats or watch a movie in tandem with a friend from two different locations. Don’t let this time rob you of what typically brings you joy. 6. Transfer your energy to a productive source. If you are nervous or worrisome, put that energy in motion! Check on your friends, shop for the elderly, coordinate with friends to trade off for child care, etc. During these trying times, use that energy to share resources and help someone else problem solve. 7. Trust God and chill. Pastor Toure said it best: use wisdom. You don’t need a miracle for things that God gave you wisdom for. Wisdom is having a reasonable amount of food and water in your house, cutting back where you can, and using social distancing to prevent passing anything in the event you are asymptomatic. Outside of what is within your human ability, trust God and chill.

I get it... it's scary right now. But the experience of this time doesn't have to be horrific. Keep these things in mind and know that we will get through this.

Feel free to reach out for individual therapy if you feel like you are having trouble managing your fears or concerns

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