Coping With The Pandemic While Dealing With An Anxiety Disorder
Set limits. Keeping the TV on your favorite news network and scrolling social media all day long puts you in a constant state of anxiety, instead, carve out specific times to check for updates. This way you stay informed without being blindsided and bombarded with negative information.
Practice sustainable self-care. Prior to the pandemic, you might’ve relied on a slew of self-care practices: You went to a specific yoga studio you love, meditated on your commute, and took long weekend walks. Not having these habits when you need them most might lead you to over-do it at home.
Schedule daily worry sessions. When a worry thought pops up, write it down quickly and re-reading this list during a 15- to 20-minute worry session.
Curb caffeine. We tend to use caffeine to cope with negative feelings, such as boredom and fatigue. However, caffeine can mimic the physiological symptoms of different health concerns.
Instead of mindlessly chugging three cups of coffee or soda throughout the day, slowly savor one small cup in the morning with your breakfast.
Spot patterns in your panic. If you’re prone to panic attacks, it’s easy to confuse those symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) with the respiratory symptoms of Coronavirus. This can lead you to go to the ER and risk possible exposure to the virus.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to what precipitates your symptoms. Panic symptoms typically come and go, while virus symptoms do not. So, if you’re having trouble breathing as you’re watching the news or thinking about the pandemic, it’s panic.
Get good sleep. It’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule—waking up and going to bed at the same time—even if your days are much more flexible now. Replace TV watching or social media scrolling with one soothing practice. For example, before bed, you might listen to a self-compassionate meditation, take a warm bath, or do some yoga.
Get grounded. Identify things in your environment that you normally don’t notice. This can include searching for a unique shade of green, counting the number of different sounds you hear, or looking for an interesting texture.
Look to your values. Instead of searching for toilet paper on Amazon again, you do a craft with your kids or watch Frozen 2 and Instead of checking the news, you FaceTime with family.