Relieving Anxiety During COVID-19

Diane Miller LCFL Grief Care Counselor, talks about relieving anxiety as you navigate through this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Hi. My name is Diane Miller.

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and a grief counselor with Lower Cape Fear LifeCare.

I would like to spend a few minutes with you to offer suggestions on how to manage anxiety during these stressful times.

If you are currently grieving the death of a loved one, please understand that grief may be impacted or compounded by the stress and uncertainty with our current situation with COVID-19.

Grief is like a roller coaster with ups and downs and very much a mixed bag of emotions. It can be uncontrollable, uncomfortable, and unpredictable.

Feeling out of control can create anxiety. I’d like to make a few suggestions to help you to reduce your anxiety and cope with the stress.

First, make a routine for yourself. This won’t be your normal routine. It’s your current, temporary routine.

Set a sleep schedule where you go to bed and get up at the same time each day and night.

Make sure that you are mindful of the amount of sleep that you’re getting, as this can very much impact our physical health as well as our mental health.

Include eating at the same time each day in your nutrition routine and try to eat healthy meals. Avoid alcohol and substances and take your medications as they’re prescribed by your medical provider.

Also, in your daily routine, include physical activity within the appropriate amount for you. There are YouTube and Facebook exercises that are free and you can choose the level of intensity that’s right for you.

Routine can help us to feel more in control in this uncontrollable and uncertain time.

Next, it’s important that we stay connected and stay informed, but we also want to be careful that we don’t become overwhelmed by news and information about the Coronavirus.

Try to balance that with light books to read, puzzles to do, funny television shows that provide emotional distraction for yourself.

We also want to avoid isolation during this time. We have to be mindful of social distance, but we can also talk to family and friends on the telephone, and via social media.

We can talk to our neighbors, sit on our porch, again maintaining social distance, go for walks, garden. Being in nature can be helpful to reduce stress.

Next, trying to identify what you currently feel grateful for can be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.

Don’t try to anticipate the future. Stay in the moment. If the anxiety becomes strong, try things that distract yourself.

One exercise is to wash your hands and focus completely on the soap, the water, the feel of the water and the soap, and the smells. That can provide some short-term relief from your anxiety.

You can also try things like guided imagery, guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, and yoga.

All of these are available on YouTube and Facebook platforms and they’re free and you can choose the level of intensity that’s best for you. You can also try coloring; you can also try journaling.

Everything that you do, we want it to be helpful and healthy and not harmful for you. If you feel like you are going to harm yourself or someone else, please call 911.

This is a very stressful time in our world and its okay to understand and identify our feelings. We may feel sad. We may feel angry, frightened, frustrated.

We want to try to balance these, understanding that this is a temporary problem, that we do have support. We are not alone and there will be resolution. We want to maintain hope.

Thank you.