During a pandemic, anxiety, fear and worry can run high. I know that for me it is.
I haven’t experienced anxiety like this in years – an anxiety that only flares up when I feel like I don’t have control. The world keeps shifting, people are dying, the rate at which this is spreading is frightening, life as we know it has come to a screeching halt with all the closures and cancellations, and there are just so many unknowns.
So in a time like this, when our heart rate seems higher and our minds are racing, I wanted to write about what we can control. Including both personally and ways we can help others.
Let’s start with how we can help others first:
1. Most importantly, socially distance as much as possible. This is proven to keep the virus from spreading and can save countless lives. And if you must go out, refrain from handshaking, hugs and touching surfaces. And wash your hands!
2. Donate food and money to food banks – many kids’ only meal is the one they have at school. If schools are closed, the food bank may be their only option. Here is a link to the Los Angeles Food Bank where I have personally donated money – or google your local food bank. Please, please, please donate.
3. Pay for someone’s groceries if they can’t afford to purchase extra food.
4. Offer to take care of someone else’s children if they have to go to work and school has been canceled. And/or host home-school days with close friends.
5. Order groceries or grocery shop for someone who should not be going out – that includes anyone with a compromised immune system and/or the elderly. You can also teach anyone that falls into this category how to online shop if they are used to exclusively shopping IRL.
7. Shop local as much as possible to help small businesses – they’re suffering right now.
8. Buy gift cards from your local restaurants, coffee shops and small businesses to help revenue coming in.
9. Video or call your doctor if you aren’t feeling well. We must protect our doctors and nurses from getting sick! Only go in if it’s truly urgent.
As for yourself and what you can control:
1. Work on controlling your thoughts. This is the hardest but most important. To help with this, limit the amount of news you consume and time spent on social media but simultaneously, stay informed.
2. Move your body to release some stress. Do an online workout, jump some rope, go deep into your yoga practice, foam roll, etc.
3. Keep yourself and your children occupied and happy. Start an art project, read a book, take an online course, work on your garden, catch up on household chores.
4. Eat healthy. Keep your immune system up and limit things like sugar and alcohol which lower your immunity.
5. Check in on people. Text, call, Facetime with your loved ones to stay connected and supportive. We could all use the company right now.
6. Practice gratitude to combat the anxiety. It may feel hard when everything feels powerless but there is SO much to be grateful for, starting with your health if you aren’t sick. Focus on the good to relieve the worry of the bad.
I hope this helps anyone feeling as stressed as I’ve been feeling and helps give you direction towards a sense of control. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. Please stay informed, mindful and PLEASE stay healthy out there.