Managing Anxiety During the COVID-19 Self Quarantine

“Americans told to hunker down as Coronavirus claims more lives”

“Dow’s Worst Day Ever”

“Coronavirus could hit NYC like the Great Depression”

With constant headlines like these, it’s no wonder everyone’s anxiety threatens to spiral out of control. For those who may have been or are now dealing with job insecurity, layoffs or financial pressure – the threat is compounded. Will I be able to pay my mortgage and utilities? Groceries? What about medication shortages for critical medical conditions?

The resulting symptoms of all this worry affect us in multiple ways:

  • Behavioral: hyper-vigilance, irritability, or restlessness
  • Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts, excessive worry, fear, feeling of impending doom
  • Whole-body: fatigue, sweating, palpitations, nausea, insomnia, trembling

We Are All In This Together

The positive in all of this, and it’s not one to minimize, is we are all (as in the ENTIRE WORLD) in this together. While anxiety is never enjoyable – there is some small comfort in knowing we are not alone.

There are things we can do to help. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) here are some ways to manage anxiety and isolation during the Quarantine.

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

Try doing one positive thing each day – may be a creative activity you never have time for, or organizing something that will reduce visual stress.

2. Avoid obsessing over endless Coronavirus coverage

While it’s important to stay informed, excessively checking social media and the news ramps up our anxiety. Maybe set a schedule for when you plan to check-in for updates and stick to it.

3. Stay close to your normal routine

Keep as many routines as you can. Follow your normal morning rituals, shower and get dressed, make your bed – this will create a sense of “normalcy” that is calming.

4. A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind

Of course, this is more challenging if you are home with small children. But a cluttered home can make you feel uneasy and claustrophobic. Try to clean and organize as you go and keep normal boundaries in place as much as possible.

5. Start a new quarantine ritual

Journal about this experience, set a time to go for a walk every day, connect online or by phone with people in your life that are important to you but you rarely get to catch up, start a new craft.

6. Use Telehealth as an option to talk to a professional about your anxiety