Below are 10 steps to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression one may be experiencing during the coronavirus.

  1. Know that feeling anxious and nervous about the coronavirus is OK and normal.
    • Anxiety is a natural response to the unknown, so it’s normal to feel unsettled since much about the virus is unknown, even to experts.
    • Anxiety is mother nature’s way of trying to protect us by pushing us to resolve uncertainty and figure out a solution.
  2. Limit your media exposure, especially if you struggled with anxiety before the pandemic.
    • While it is fine to have a general idea of what is happening, especially if you live near an area with high concentration of cases, it’s important to limit media exposure, particularly from undocumented or potentially unreliable sources
    • Try not to have the TV or radio on all the time. Limit kids exposure to the news.
  3. Do what you can to protect yourself and your family, including excellent hygiene and social distancing practices.
    • Action is the antidote to anxiety: Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, sanitize high-touch surfaces, avoid sick people, make sure you have a decent supply of nonperishable food and other supplies, and stay home as much as possible.
  4. Do your part in protecting your community, whether by helping more vulnerable neighbors with groceries or staying home even if restaurants or other public places are open.
    • You can also take action to help your community, whether that means helping an elderly neighbor get groceries, donating blood, or staying in even when you feel healthy and are able to go out.
  5. Try to focus on what you are grateful for, not wish you would change or go away.
    • gratitude lists
    • encourage children to write them as well and share as a family
    • family meals and utilize skype/zoom with extended family or friends discussing gratitude etc….
  6. Seek virtual help from mental health professionals or download a de-stressing app.
    • Brightside
    • TalkSpace
    • There are many mental health practitioners and practices in our area that have online capability. Above are some online sources and below are 2 larger local private practices. There are a ton in this area. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.
      • Behavioral Health Services of the Hudson Valley – this is the private practice I work at and we have many wonderful practitioners. 845-569-2900
      • Hudson Valley Center for Develeopment – 845-787-1350
      • Guided meditation apps Calm and Headspace, the latter of which is currently offering free subscriptions, and Daylio, which helps you track your mood and daily activity so you can keep a mental-health promoting schedule.
  7. Just breathe.
    • Psychiatrist Dr. Mimi Winsberg, the co-founder and chief medical officer of Brightside, recommends the 4-7-8 method, which can reinstill a sense of calm when you feel out of control. The method involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight
  8. Attempt to maintain a routine.
    • Daily rituals: make your bed, get dressed, shower, brush your teeth. It’s important to try and maintain as much of your previous schedule as possible along with a consistent bedtime for yourself and kids.
  9. Eat healthy, don’t smoke and exercise when possible.
    • Jess covers this beautifully 🙂
  10. Use the time to reach out to loved ones and reconnect with old friends.
    • Be proactive about reaching out to others and asking how they’re doing — you’ll boost your mental health as well as theirs which research shows can reduce stress.

References:

10 ways to cope with coronavirus anxiety, according to psychologists; Anna Medaris Miller. The Business Insider: March 20, 2020 

The Atlantic: Family

Dear Therapist’s Guide to Staying Sane During a Pandemic
You can let anxiety consume you, or you can feel the fear and also find joy in ordinary life, even now.
Lori Gottleib March 17, 2020