The coronavirus pandemic is affecting our everyday lives, and with things changing so quickly, the stress of it all may feel overwhelming. Fear and anxiety about our health, finances, kids being home from school, caring for our elderly loved ones and social distancing can cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Laura Rhodes-Levin, a licensed therapist who specialises in the evaluation and treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma, offers six practices we can do at home to manage our anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Have fun with the family by playing games, gardening and cooking
Rhodes-Levin suggests making the most of spending time with family by playing board games, doing crafts, cooking or gardening. “Distract yourself with cooking. Don’t go for perfection,” she says. “This is a time to get creative and find joy in the moment … build a good ol’ fashioned fort.”
2. Exercise and stay active
Physical activity can greatly reduce anxiety. She encourages adults and kids to keep their bodies in motion. “Have fun with chores.” Another suggestion is to start a fitness challenge and see who can do the most push-ups or simply take time to stretch.
3. Listen to music
Tap into your senses and listen to music. “Using your five senses is the best way to quiet your mind,” she says. Aromatherapy is another great way to relax. “Any of your five senses are going to be a great way to shift your focus.”
4. Catch up on movies and TV shows with the family
Choose to focus on something else besides the coronavirus, and cherish the family bonding time by watching your favorite movies and TV shows. “This is a good time to reinforce the family unit,” she says. “Laugh together. Even if it’s a sad and heavy movie, crying together is a big release of tension,” Rhodes-Levin explains. “We want to release our tension.”
5. Get productive by fixing things around the house
She also suggests fixing things around the house to not only keep your mind occupied but to stay active. “We all have things that we have put off doing around the house.” Take time to do research projects, like fixing the plumbing in your kitchen. “Get things done,” she advises. “Get things off that to-do list.”
6. Write a journal
Another way to create positivity is to take pen to paper and physically write. “It brings up positive endorphins when you actually write something out that’s meaningful and loving.” By focusing on writing down your feelings it can help you gain a sense of control and that can help with gaining inner peace.
“Distract yourself with something that engages you,” she says. “Be careful but don’t be fearful.”