As the days get shorter and nights longer, the coronavirus is still very much with us, sad to say. It’s already clear the next couple of seasons won’t be the “life as usual” we all hoped for.
So what are some ways we can manage our anxiety as the days get a little darker?
Here are a few tools our experts recommend to help us deal with it all:
- Reframe how you think of anxiety
Reframing can be a valuable tool. It takes feelings or emotions you have and turns them into something useful. For anxiety, learn exactly why you feel anxious and accept that it’s totally normal. Instead of approaching anxiety as a negative emotion that must be suppressed, we should think of it as a superpower that motivates us to act.
- Learn to breathe yourself calm
Learn to breathe yourself calm. Activate your parasympathetic nervous system by inhaling deeply while you count to four, and then exhale while you count to four. Repeat until calm.
- Move your body
You can fight anxiety with physical movement. Feeling anxious all the time, as many people have since the coronavirus pandemic began, has a lot of long-term health implications. Research shows exercise can ease panic attacks and mood and sleep disorders too.
- Accept that our new normal may be abnormal
As much as we wish it away, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for a while, and we have to find ways to manage our risks and take care of our mental health for the long haul.
Adapted from “6 Tips for Coping with COVID Anxiety This Fall and Winter” by April Fulton, September 4, 2021.