Because sometimes the more the media harps on something the more fearful the public becomes…
Remember on New Year’s Eve when we all thought that 2020 was going to be the best year for all of us? Yeah, I do too. With the news spinning an apocalyptic narrative and more and more people getting sick with the coronavirus it can be very easy for people (like me) who suffer from severe anxiety ￼￼to be more and more prone to panic attacks. Panic attacks (when severe enough) can mimic heart attacks. Chest pain and heart palpitations￼￼ are not uncommon in people with crippling anxiety. The worst thing someone with anxiety can do is to listen to the news and all the other posts on social media which suggest the world truly is ending.
If you suffer from anxiety, like me, I’ve put together a nifty little five-step list that you can do to take your mind off of everything that’s going on. ￼While this is not to downplay the severity of those that are part of the at risk group of people whose lives could be threatened by this virus, it’s rather something you can do to keep your own sense of sanity during this period of time. ￼
- Go for a walk-One of the best things you could do is re-connect with nature get outdoors and take a walk. Take time to appreciate nature. Spend the energy you would use worrying about things you can’t control (namely other people’s hygiene habits) and just focus on what you hear and what you see around you. ￼￼A squirrel climbing a tree? Birds chirping in the sunlight? These things will help you to center yourself and reconnect with whatever higher power you believe in.
- Read a book-when I was young my favorite book to read was Harry Potter. I loved being able to insert myself into another world to get my mind off of my life for a little while.￼￼ Reading a book can be a great way to take your mind off of what’s being read and written about in the news. The key here is to use your imagination to focus on what the characters are going through, imagine that in your mind￼￼, and go for it. You will be surprised to find how much time will pass that you spend not worrying when you pick up a book and read.￼
- Practice social distancing and spend time with the people you live with-This is a really good time to sharpen up your monopoly skills against those you live with in your home￼￼. Instead of going out to restaurants and bars consider instead ordering takeout and hosting a game night with the people that you live with. Not only will this take you back to a simpler time when winning a game was the most important thing, but it will also help you to appreciate your loved ones and spend some much needed time with them.
- Watch some movies-While this is not the time to go to movie theaters, this IS a really good time to catch up on watching some of your favorite classic movies. Gather your loved ones, the ones that you live with, and watch some of your favorite movies. Each night have someone else in your home pick the movie to watch and then talk about it afterwards. What did you like the best? How did you feel about the ending? Having these discussions will keep your mind off of what’s going on in the outside world at least for a little while.￼￼￼￼￼
- Wash your hands and pray-While the world is having a melt down pray that whoever you believe in (no matter what your faith is, even if you have no faith at all) heals the world.￼￼ Keep your hands clean and pray to God or whomever you place your trust in, to keep you safe and healthy. Put all your worries and fears in their hands and keep the faith that tomorrow will bring forth a better day for all of us.
- As a bonus something you can do to help is also keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is a good way to release any fears or concerns that you have about what is going on. One of the worst things someone with anxiety can do is simply to keep it in you have to let out the toxic thoughts someway and journaling is a good way to do this. Going back at what you’ve written, you can look at your fears and legitimate concerns and see what is warranted and what is not.
- Remember to exercise caution, my friends, by washing your hands and practicing social distancing. Know that you are only in control of your own personal hygiene. You cannot control the way others take care of themselves only how you care for yourself. ￼￼
- Stay safe, stay healthy and above all: stay calm. We’re all going to be okay in the end.