4 Helpful Ways to Soothe Your COVID-19 Anxiety
- Jaime Jo Wright Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2020 1 May
Mental health during a crisis isn’t something to take lightly. There are a variety of things you can do to care for your own personal mindset, but one important element is finding a correct definition for what you’re feeling.
Anxiety is a feeling worry, being uneasy and unnerved about a particular outcome, lost in the unknown and unsettled.
Depression is a dark place of despondency, often accompanied by sleeplessness, a severe lack of motivation, a feeling of hopelessness and no escape.
For clarity’s sake, I want to make a point that this article is specifically discussing ways to soothe day-to-day anxiety directly related to Covid19. If you’re experiencing severe and unrelenting anxiety, symptoms of depression, or regular panic attacks, we urge you to seek professional counsel asap. Mental health is critical during this tumultuous time.
Many of us, though, are experiencing regular bouts with day-to-day anxiety as it relates to COVID-19 and the current circumstances of being under a stay-at-home order. These feelings come and go, take you on a rollercoaster, might transform into a panic attack, or perhaps devolve into a sense of peace as you take rest in just existing in the simplicity of home.
Working through generalized anxiety can be assisted by taking steps to deviate away from the negative influences. News, media, conspiracy theories, etc. can weigh us down and truly add gasoline to the fire of worry.
But there are also practical, COVID-19 specific things you can do to alleviate some of your anxious thoughts. Here are 4 ways to soothe your anxiety.
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1. Learn about COVID-19 Facts and StatisticsSlide 1 of 4
While it may seem counterproductive, taking time to study the statistics of COVID-19 can prove helpful in bringing this illness into perspective.
While we in no way want to downplay the science or severity of COVID-19, we do need to be careful that we gauge our caution in facts and not reactions. This means, check your sources, first and foremost.
Many of the social media links to information simply aren’t factual. We hear the term “fake news” so often now, and much of it is perpetuated by not only mainstream media but also the myriads of individuals who take to social media with sudden expertise. These may be the same people who, last week, were experts in politics, and the week before that, in the Olympics. So, check your sources.
Do you trust them? Have they proven to be reliable? Does the information they’re presenting cross-check with other reliable sources?
Always be cautious of John Doe’s claim of doom and gloom. Erroneous sources compose line after line of click-bait headlines designed to shock and terrify you. True statistics will give you a far better realization of what is occurring.
While it may not alleviate your anxiety, it can help put it into perspective. Is it truly a fight or flight situation? Or is this more likely a scenario we need to wait out and take one step at a time?
Knowing the facts can help you from descending into a panic spiral--and, you might even find good news to focus on!
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2. Take Reasonable PrecautionsSlide 2 of 4
Another way to alleviate anxiety as it’s directly related to COVID-19 is to take reasonable precautions. Control what you are able to, and release that which you are not.
I have seen both sides of precautionary activity of late. From a blasé attitude that this is all overblown and therefore let’s sneeze on everyone’s pancakes, to a hyper-terrified trip into underground bunkers with no intention of returning to the topside of Earth until 2035.
Of course, it's natural for us to learn from eachother and what we see other people doing. However, people can have reactions that make us question our own reactions. This leads to anxiety. Am I doing enough? Did I disinfect enough? Should I spray the disinfectant spray in my garage too, or maybe I should wipe down the ceilings? I didn’t wipe down the ceilings! KIDS, DON’T LICK THE CEILINGS!
These questions of cleanliness begin to fester into an unsolvable conundrum which is the never-ending cleaning cycle, which can create anxiety, a sense of never being safe enough, or even finished.
However, there are plenty of logical, doable, and even controllable cleaning processes directed by reliable resources for safeguarding you and your family. Find one that suits you and your family, then follow it.
When you see that social media post of your friend painting turpentine on the walls with the claim it kills the virus but only if you light it on fire, please avoid that level of anxiety—and action! It’s not healthy. It’s not even logical.
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3. Act in FaithSlide 3 of 4
Oh, this is a big source of anxiety for so many! Half of the battle with COVID-19 anxiety lies in fighting off the situations we are being forced into living.
We are used to the illusion that we control our lives.
Our financial peace, our career stability, our health, even. As Americans, we aren’t fond of being told what to do, when to do it, and certainly, we are not accustomed to not being able to buy toilet paper and eggs. Anxiety will flourish as you fight stubbornly against your situation. It will continue to pound exclamation point after exclamation point at the end of your argument that “this isn’t supposed to be happening!”
It will give you an anxiety migraine—emotionally, if not physically.
On the other hand, accepting your circumstances hearkens to the Apostle Paul when he stated that he had learned to be content in all circumstances. (Says the man beaten, thrown into prison, with an impending beheading on his calendar). Contentment is a gentle acceptance that where you are is okay.
That where you are is guided by the hand of Father God. That the storms raging around your boat may toss and tip and turn you, but you will not capsize. Jesus says to “rest" (Matthew 11:28-30) and “take heart” (John 16:33).
There is something to be said when you watch a child during a thunderstorm and their terror of the booming and the banging changes into utter awe and excitement at the power and the majesty of the thunder. It’s an example of the fight against what we don’t know, transforming into the expectancy of what amazing things will be done.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Zac Durant
4. Lean on God in Practical WaysSlide 4 of 4
Now that we’ve centered ourselves, how do we soothe ourselves? Sometimes tribulations don’t call for comfort and certainly don’t promise a carefree journey. But there are ways to find peace in the middle of the hurricane. Ways to feel the stroking hand of God shushing us and reminding us that everything will be all right.
A few practical ways to find that restful place are at the tip of our fingertips and all too often ignored.
- Meditate on the Word of God. Sometimes centering ourselves in facts and statistics isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to dive into the depths of the written promises of God’s Word. The reminders that He walks with us through the valleys, that He goes before us in battle, and that His promises are real and never-failing.
- Refresh your memory of God’s victories. Re-read the stories of the Old Testament. The miracles that were so beyond the imagination of the man. Parting the Red Sea, sparing Rahab simply because she hung a red cord of faith from her window in Jericho, and raining fire on a flooded altar at the behest of his prophet. God is not a God of small responses. He is a God that rises to the occasion in His timing and always provides a way for those who trust and follow Him.
- Sing songs of lyrical praise. I love current pop culture music as much as the next person. As well as the classic rock, the classical music, the Broadway tunes, and more. But what your soul swims in during the day will saturate every ounce of your being. While there may be fundamentally nothing wrong in the music you’re listening to, is it enhancing your anxiety perhaps? Subtly causing you to focus on more circumstances that could spiral out of control? Spend time building your playlist with songs of praise. Songs that sing out Scriptural truths, remind you of those Biblical promises, and send your heart dwelling in the high places of His power.
- Talk to Him. Toss aside the formal on-your-knees approach, if that’s holding you back. When you read the Psalms of David, he was nothing if not brutally open with his emotions as he ranted and railed against God, as he cried bitterly before God, and as he extoled the amazingness of God. Be honest with your Lord. Tell Him your darkest secrets, deepest fears, worst frustrations, and greatest joys. He promises to listen and to respond.
Troubled times will always be here. Whether it’s Covid-19 or something altogether different. There are opportunities all around us to choose truth over fiction, to soothe ourselves Spiritually instead of distracting ourselves with media and music that does nothing to breathe into our souls. So, in these troubled times, be intentional. Be intentional to fact check, to center yourself, to soothe yourself with God’s promises, and above all, remind yourself every moment that He will fight for you. He sees you. You’ve never been forgotten.
Jaime Jo Wright is the winner of the Christy, Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children.
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