It’s normal for anyone to feel anxious during the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you were already an anxious person before the coronavirus, it can be difficult to manage your anxiety during the national lockdown. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ease your anxiety.
1. Dust off your books
Now is the best time to work through the pile of books gathering dust on your bedside table. The latest fiction will take your mind off the current situation and help you unwind. Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading slows your heart rate and relaxes your muscles. Maybe just avoid books about viruses or pandemics for the time being.
And, if you are not much of a reader why not try audiobooks? You can listen to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Audible’s new platform, stories.audible.com for free. It’s available in six different languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese) with the talented Stephen Fry as narrator.
2. Exercise online
We all know that exercise is important. Not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. But what do you do if the gym is closed and you are not allowed to run outside? Many gyms offer classes online and YouTube has videos of almost every exercise available for free. If you still have old aerobic DVDs, now is a good time to fetch them from the back of the TV cabinet. The exercises alone will not only improve your mood, but the outfits (and hairstyles) from the 80s are sure to bring a smile to your face.
3. Hold your (yoga) pose
While exercise is good, it’s not only intense exercise that can help you manage your anxiety. Yoga improves your body’s ability to handle stress and can help you relax. Yoga with Adriene offers free videos for beginners on YouTube.
4. Listen to Matthew McConaughey
Like yoga, meditation can help you focus on your breathing and the present moment. Sitting in silence for a few minutes each day will help quiet racing thoughts. There are several smartphone applications such as Calm and Headspace that offer guided meditations. Calm also has bedtime stories for adults. So, instead of lying in bed worrying, you can have Matthew McConaughey’s voice guide you to a restful slumber.
5. Try creative therapy
Colouring books are not just for kids. Research has found that colouring a reasonably complicated geometric pattern may result in a meditative state. If you are anxious, colouring intricate patterns might help you relax. So, borrow your children’s brightly coloured pencils and start colouring.
6. Teach your dog (and yourself) new tricks
Learning a new skill can shift your focus from negative thoughts to more positive ones. Use the national lockdown to learn a new skill. Udemy has many courses at affordable prices. You can learn how to code, how to plant a vegetable garden (if you are worried about food supplies), or you can teach your dog new tricks.
7. Talk about your concerns
It’s easy to feel lonely during isolation, so prioritise talking to friends and family. If you feel anxious, talk about your concerns. Talking about your feelings can help keep your anxiety in perspective. Applications like WhatsApp, Skype and Zoom make it possible to stay in touch.
If it feels like the walls are closing in on you, it’s time to take a trip. And, even if you can’t leave your house, you can still see the world. Take a virtual tour. Walk the Great Wall of China or stroll the halls of famous museums such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
9. Don’t read (everything)
While tip 1 says to dust off your books, the type of reading material you decide on is very important. Don’t read everything you see on the internet or social media. It’s easy to feel anxious if you regularly read news about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Avoid it, if you can. Rather stay informed by asking a family member to keep you up to date on the most important news or by checking the facts on reliable websites once a week.
10. Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself. It’s normal to feel anxious. None of us has ever experienced a worldwide pandemic. Try to manage your anxiety with the tips above and take it one day at a time.
If you have any more tips, please share them in the comments below.