Dealing with Stress and Anxiety during COVID-19 Pandemic
We are all adapting to this global pandemic's "new life." It came fast, turned our lives upside down and created a new level of fear, stress and anxiety. If you're not an essential worker, most likely you're working from home. If you have children, most likely and without warning, you have become their teacher. If you are sick or have been exposed to the virus, most likely you've been in isolation for a while. All of us have been in quarantined for weeks. Some people have lost their jobs, some people have lost loved ones and some people have lost their lives. The feeling of instability and uncertainty can really trigger on us fear and anxiety as our basic physiological and safety needs are being threatened.
On the other hand, a big percentage of people have recovered. The government is trying to provide economic relief. Neighbors are coming together to support each other. People are making masks and giving them to essential workers on the front lines. And, some families are more than ever spending more quality time together.
It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, scared and mortified during this COVID-19 crisis. Usually when our brain goes into fight, flight, freeze mode for a crisis, it only lasts for a small period of time. This quarantine has already lasted multiple weeks around the world. Our brains are exhausted!
Maybe in the past, you might have engaged in self care rituals as massages, manicures, pedicures, happy hour, get togethers with friends, going out to eat, watching a movie at the theater or attending concerts to refill your bucket. Now, these things have been canceled until further notice. However, you can still help your brain get regulated and recharged. Go back to basics! Go back to nature! Go back to your 5 senses!
Use your five senses to input data that let's your brain know that you are okay and safe. At this moment in time, you are okay, you are alive, you are breathing. You can enjoy a nice and pleasant scent by lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils or wearing your favorite perfume. You can use your sense of touch by petting your favorite pet, using a weighted blanket or hugging and caressing a loved one in your household. You can listen to some relaxing music as you take a bath, put some energetic music as you clean your home, play an instrument or listen to romantic music as you dance with your partner in the middle of the living room. You can take this time to cook your favorite meals, learn have to bake some delicious desserts or expand your palate with different and new recipes. You can read your favorite book, watch a classic movie or use your imagination and creativity to paint or draw. Try not to binge too much on Netflix, a friend told me that it can be addictive ;)
Go outside and explore nature. Feel the fresh breeze hitting your face as you take a walk around your neighborhood. Smell the sweet flowers and appreciate their vibrant colors. Hear the tree branches swaying away with the wind. Pick up rocks and paint them with encouraging messages for others to find on their walks. Look up to the sky and notice the beautiful colors of the sunrise and sunset. Pay attention on how the clouds form different shapes as the wind pushes them to a different path. Notice the shining stars on a nice night as you enjoy a drink in your porch.
I believe this global pandemic has come to teach us a very important lesson: to slow down and appreciate all the gifts we have around us and often take for granted in our rushed world. Yes, there could be pain in our hearts, stress in our minds and fear and anxiety in our bodies. However, love, hope, faith, courage, kindness and resilience still live in this world and inside of each and every one of us. We will never be the same but I believe we will be better!