• Blogs

    Managing Anxiety While Self-Isolating During COVID-19

    April 02, 2020

    So, who’s feeling a little anxious right now? I am! I’m sure most of us are, and that’s okay. It’s a perfectly normal reaction to our current world situation, and it’s not shameful.

    I’ve found a few ways to channel that anxiety into some productive tasks — my shower has never looked cleaner — but I’m also trying to keep anxiety at bay. It’s helpful for me to remember that I cannot control what’s happening in the world; I can only control my response to it. Just acknowledging that, while taking a deep breath, can be soothing. Here are a few other suggestions on how to care for your mental health during this surreal time. 

    Get Outdoors, Or Bring the Outdoors In

    Staying at home all day can harm our mental and physical health. You may find yourself moving around a lot less than you used to and getting much less sunlight and fresh air. 

    It’s important to schedule breaks throughout your day so you can get outside and go for a walk. Studies show that sunlight likely boosts serotonin, resulting in a positive effect on your emotions. It’s often thought that the lack of light exposure contributes to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Getting enough sunlight can also affect your circadian rhythms, boosting melatonin, and allowing for better sleep at night, which can also reduce anxiety.

    If you aren’t getting enough sunlight while self-isolating at home, bring in the outdoors, open your windows to let in the breeze, and fully open your curtains or blinds. Consider using a light therapy box with at least 10,000 lux exposure. However, you should first consult your doctor, particularly if you have a family history of macular degeneration or you are on antibiotics like tetracycline that might cause skin sensitivities. A light therapy box imitates sunlight and gives your brain similar mood-boosting benefits. 

    Move Your Body and Calm Your Mind

    Getting exercise can reduce your anxiety and boost your mood. To relieve depression and anxiety, experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise, 3-5 days a week, but even smaller amounts can be beneficial as well. If you can’t get outside to go on a walk or jog, there’s a world of exercise videos right on your phone or computer. YouTube offers a full range of pre-recorded exercises, including yoga, dance, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and more. However, during this pandemic, there’s been a surge of live virtual fitness classes streaming on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Zoom, and other social media platforms. Tuning-in to one of these live broadcasts can give you a sense of community, knowing other people across the world are taking the same class you are at the same time. 

    Practitioners are also offering live virtual meditation classes. If you’re experiencing increased anxiety, it might be time to slow down, take a breath, and introduce a meditation practice into your daily routine. It’s shown to have a positive effect on stress and anxiety. Use an app like Headspace, which offers a range of guided meditations, including a free session specifically for relieving anxiety, that you could try before you commit. Explore virusanxiety.org, a toolkit created by mental health professionals that includes various strategies, meditations, and even a well-needed escape from our current situation.

    Talk it Out 

    Stay in touch with your family and friends through calls, texts, and virtual face-to-face meetings. Last week I wrote an article about the many ways we can stay in touch with those we love while staying physically distant. There I include a variety of strategies to keep up your weekly coffee dates or game nights; talking and laughing with others can do a world of good for your mental health.

    When you connect with others, talk about how you’re feeling and ask them how they’re doing. If you would like to explore talking to a therapist about your feelings, you can find ongoing virtual support through a service like Talk Space (talkspace.com), where you can connect with licensed therapists through text or video chat. If you’re on the front lines fighting COVID-19 as a nurse, doctor, or social worker, Talk Space is currently offering free therapy for you. If you’re a New Yorker, NYC Well is open 24/7 for free text, chat, or phone conversations with counselors. 

    Take a Break 

    If you find yourself compulsively checking the news throughout the day, scrolling through one bad-news article after another, this will not help you feel less anxious. Take a break from the news. Give yourself a set time during the day to check-in and stay informed. At those times, set a timer to allow yourself 10 or 15 minutes to read or watch all the news you want. When your timer goes off, stop, and get on with the rest of your day. 

    Overall, I’m finding some comfort knowing that the whole world is in this together. This moment in history will be a touchpoint for all of us, once we’re past it. Meanwhile, we’re all in the same boat, and it’s up to us to hunker down, take care of ourselves, and support each other.

    No comments found.

    Leave a Comment

    Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder: Shedding Light on the Winter Blues

    Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder: Shedding Light on the Winter Blues Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is a mood disorder that typically occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. This condition can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well being, affecting everything from […]

    November is National Home Care and Hospice Month

    True Care Recognizes National Home Care and Hospice Month November is National Home Care and Hospice Month, a time to recognize and appreciate the vital role that home care and hospice services play in our communities. At True Care Home Care, we understand the importance of providing quality care for your loved ones in the […]

    National Family Caregivers’ Month

    National Family Caregivers’ Month is celebrated each November in the United States. It is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country and raise awareness about caregiving issues.  Family caregivers play a significant role in their loved ones’ health and well-being, and their contributions are crucial to both the recipients of care […]

    Boost Your Health Literacy: Your Key to Quality Home Care

    October is Health Literacy Month, and we at True Care are excited to talk about what health literacy is and how it applies to home care. While, at a bare-bones level, health literacy is about having the tools to understand health-related information, there is so much more to it that can help make your home […]

    World Osteoporosis Day: Taking Care of Your Bones

    World Osteoporosis Day: Taking Care of Your Bones Today, we’re shining a spotlight on a day that’s all about your bones – World Osteoporosis Day! Having just taken place on October 20th, World Osteoporosis Day is a day to appreciate and educate yourself about the significance of bone health. Just as you take care of […]