Posted on March 26, 2020
This is an unprecedented time where we are experiencing shared global anxiety that we haven’t seen quite like this before. Yet, the underlying feelings of loss of control, fear of the unknown, and vulnerability are all feelings that we, as a therapy matching service, treat all the time. I share that to spread reassurance that there are tried-and-true methods of alleviating anxiety and restoring the sense of normalcy into our lives. Here are a few ways to cope with anxiety and practice mindful living during this time.
Staying true to your everyday routine as much as possible is critical to feeling a sense of stability during a time of external chaos. For example, if on a typical workday, you typically shower, make the bed, and get dressed, I would encourage you to keep your process consistent, even as you work from home. On the contrary, if we get too comfortable wearing pajamas and relaxing on the couch working with the tv on in the background, we risk falling into a vicious cycle of lethargy around our work and not being productive. These behaviors can result in long term feelings of low self-worth, causing depression.
The same goes for bedtime routines. It can be tempting to push bedtimes because many of us currently do not have to get up as early for a commute to an office, but this becomes a slippery slope very quickly. For you and your children’s wellbeing, practicing mindfulness for anxiety, by keeping a daily routine from morning until night (as much as possible) is recommended.
Maintaining boundaries with roommates, children, and partners is essential during a time like this. Putting aside time and space that is dedicated to you and your productivity is important, whether it’s to work, meditate, read, or exercise. Keeping boundaries will provide a sense of control and improve stability in a rather unstable and vulnerable time.
It is scientifically proven that socializing and receiving comfort from loved ones are ways to reduce stress during a time of heightened worry.
Make sure that while you are practicing social distancing, you avoid social isolating during this time, as this will only perpetuate the anxiety you may be feeling. While we are all physically distant from friends and family, we have an opportunity to check in with one another via video chat and phone calls. We can leverage technology to make sure we stay connected by hosting virtual happy hours, playdates between children, and longer phone calls with our grandparents.
Telemedicine is at our disposal now more than ever. Make sure that your mental wellness stays on track during this time, and feel free to reach out to Advekit to find out how you can get connected with a therapist in our network.
Get that Vitamin D! It is so important that we take time to get outdoors and inhale deep breaths of fresh air. It is good for the mind, body, and soul to get out of your living room and go for a walk alone or with someone you live with. We want to avoid social congregating as much as possible during this time. As long as we do it respectfully, spending time outside while we are stuck indoors feeling restless, is a great way to help decrease stress hormones and allow our bodies to relax.
This is probably the toughest of our tips for coping with anxiety, and it is a work in progress.
Acceptance is the fifth and final stage of the grief cycle, and we are all grieving the loss of our typical lives as we knew them. Acceptance of our new realities and our new normal, as well as acceptance of ourselves, are all critical to helping reduce stress during this experience.
Having self-compassion is also necessary during this time. We are all going to be struggling with concentrating and feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, and that’s okay. Paying attention to how you’re feeling and reminding yourself that you are doing your best is a healthy way to learn to cope. It will take time to get into this new rhythm, but there will always be a therapist at Advekit ready to help you find the best way to cope with your anxiety.
Alison LaSov, LMFT
Alison LaSov is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with experience treating clients struggling with anxiety and depression. She predominantly focuses on mental health intervention for children and adolescents, particularly those who are in crisis. She has worked within the Los Angeles education system treating students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), as well as supervised a non-profit Teen Crisis Hotline out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Alison earned her B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a native to Los Angeles and co-founder at Advekit.