Believe me, I understand the seriousness of the Coronavirus. Last week, I woke up for the first time ever in my life having to do deep breathing exercises to calm my anxiety. I woke my husband up explaining I was having a hard time breathing and I wasn’t sure if I was having a heart attack, anxiety attack, or caught the Coronavirus virus. My husband should write a book about me, I am sure it would be entertaining. I was able to calm down within a few minutes from deep breathing exercises and get my thoughts straight. Since figuring out my anxiety was at an all-time high, I have been able to keep myself balanced and on track. You can too. You are not alone. Many people are feeling unsafe, expressing distress, having trouble sleeping, and difficulty balancing work-life issues.
Focus on what you can control: When things are out of our control it makes us anxious. You can control how many times you wash your hands, what you touch, who you are near, what you get accomplished today, how much exercise you do, what you put in your mouth, what to invest your time in, who you decide to contact, the way you treat others, etc. Put your energy toward what you can control and you will be much more effective.
Have a plan for your day: You feel better when you get things accomplished. Get ideas from the people in your home, your friends, people you admire, your own head or heart. If you don’t set any goals this epidemic will be over and you will be at the same place you were when it started if not worse. Get moving on something you always wanted to learn.
Meditation or mindfulness: Meditation and mindfulness are about focusing on the present. When you focus too much on the past you feel depressed. Focusing on the future can make you anxious. Use your senses to keep you in the present; what you see, hear, feel, taste, smell. One of my favorite mediation breathing exercises is the 4-7-8 technique. Breathe in through the nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, exhale slowly through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat for four cycles. Once you make meditation a habit it can help you find your inner balance and grow spiritually.
Take a break from the news, social media: Adults, teens, and children should limit their daily screen time. You can always be updated by visiting the CDC site https://www.cdc.gov/. North Carolina friends can visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19 . It is important to stay informed, but focusing too much time on the Coronavirus will create more anxiety.
When we are powerless, fear and uncertainty set in. Find your power. You can still make the decision to choose joy. Deciding to be joyful isn’t enough, you must put action behind your decision. My daughter is home from college because of the Coronavirus. Our family has eaten at our kitchen table together more in the last weeks than we probably have in the last two years she has been gone. Find things to be grateful for.