• Neeley Hughey

Tips to handling isloation and anxiety during COVID-19 crisis

Cancelled travel plans, indefinite isolation, no break from the kids, tele-working or not working, panic over scarce resources and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and feelings of isolation.

Here are a few tips that could help you survive spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time.

1. Reframe “I am stuck or trapped inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself”

As bleak as the world may feel right now, think of this as an opportunity to refocus your attention from the external to the internal. Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude

2. Stay close to your normal routine

Try and maintain some structure from the pre-quarantine days. Wake up and go to bed around the same time, eat meals, shower, adapt your exercise regimen, and get out of your PJ’s. Do laundry on Sundays as usual. Not only will sticking to your normal routine keep you active and less likely to spiral, it will be easier to readjust to the outside world when it’s time to get back to work

3. Avoid the news and social media and the endless Coronavirus coverage

Stop checking your phone, social media and refrain from watching the news as much as possible. Give yourself a time limit on social media, news, CDC website etc (1 to 2 hours per day or none at all)

4. Get outside at least twice a day

In our normal routine we usually leave the house and have time outside each day. It is important to get outside and see the sun (Vitamin D) and get fresh air. You can sit outside in your backyard, porch, balcony and read a book, go for a bike ride, or take a walk (practice social distancing)

5. Keep things clean and organized

With all the uncertainly happening outside your home, keep the inside organized, predictable and clean. For example, try not to eat on the couch or in bed or work on the sofa- just as before, eat at the kitchen table and work at your desk. Loosening these boundaries just muddles your routine and can make the day feel very long. Additionally, a cluttered home can cause you to become uneasy and claustrophobic of your environment- so keep it clean

6. Stay connected with friends and family as much as possible

Use Zoom, FaceTime, Skype to stay in touch with friends and family – make sure to connect everyday to someone outside your home

7. Implement alone time into your routine each day if you are not living alone

We all need alone time and being in the house with our loved ones 24/7 you can start to feel irritated and anxious. Go for a walk alone, listen to music on your headphones, journal, exercise as way to give yourself time to recharge your batteries and give yourself space

8.Reach out if you need help

Use tele-health as an option to talk to a professional if your anxiety becomes unmanageable

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