Anxiety, What Can I Do?
As an essential business, As an essential business, Peace of Mind Psychological Services is open and available to provide quality mental health services during this extraordinary time.
With a constant stream of negative news reports, conflicting messages, government orders for social distancing and increased isolation, we are well beyond managing “normal” daily stressors. As a world, we are learning, minute by minute, how to battle with a new, unseen, threat to ourselves, our families and our communities. This may be a fight for which many of us come unprepared as, until now, our focus has been on maintaining family relationships, jobs, finances, and avoiding chronic illness. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in our communities, these normative daily stressors are significantly escalated and pronounced. It has caused a sudden and major life change which can fuel fear, uncertainty, and negative attitudes, perceptions.
As such the risk for anxiety, depression, traumatic stress and physiological reactions to fear have increased. We are now into the third week of isolation and significant disruption to our daily structure. Therefore, it is likely that may individuals are experiencing symptoms of chronic stress: low energy, headaches, upset stomach/diarrhea/constipation, nausea, aches/pains, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, frequent colds/infections and loss of sexual desire. When reading through this list it becomes evident how some of the symptoms of stress are similar to indication of COVID-19. I point this out not to discourage seeking medical attention, but to highlight the importance of managing your stress and continuing to take care of your mental health during this time. Seeking mental health support will decrease burden on the already struggling medical industry and will help you stay emotionally and physically healthier during these extraordinary times.
A great way to manage mild to intense stress and anxiety is through self-soothing or grounding techniques. A skill from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, self-soothing is helpful in managing overwhelming emotions by redirecting your attention to the present moment through the use of your senses; focusing with intention on your physical world. To practice, I have attached some examples of activities to bring a sense of peace by engaging with your sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
- Look through magazines, books, pictures, or make a collage.
- Look outside at nature, people, cars.
- Paint or draw.
- Light a candle and notice the flicker of light.
- Listen to music you enjoy, calming sounds, meditation music.
- Listen to audio books (now is a good time to catch up).
- Listen to noises outside (nature, city bustle).
- Listen to a podcast or talk show.
- Put on a perfume or lotion you enjoy.
- Bake fresh cookies, bread or any other food that has an enjoyable smell.
- Put a calming essential oil in a diffuser and relax in the scent of lavender, jasmine etc.
- Cook with herbs like basil, oregano etc that have a pleasant smell.
- Take time enjoying some chocolate, candy, or gum.
- Make your favorite meal to mindfully eat.
- Drink a hot beverage as coffee or tea.
- Enjoy ice cream or just ice as it melts in your mouth.
- Give yourself a message, rubbing away and tension in your shoulders or neck.
- Take a hot or cold shower, notice the water on your skin.
- Play with your pet, noticing the softness of their fur.
- Wear comfortable clothes that are soft or calming to your sense of touch.