TIPS FOR REDUCING ANXIETY DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK By Tracy Sherva & Jan Staley Submitted by St. James & OLW’s Mental Health Ministry 

Posted on March 31, 2020 by Published by

Ground yourself in science.    Science-based facts will ground you in a reality where truth, hope, and interventions existResist sensational news or social media, where facts are often blurred or exaggerated.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates. 

Limit your consumption of the news.   A near-constant stream of news reports can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Instead, seek CDC updates and practical guidelines at specific times during the day. 

Isolate but stay connected to others.    Protect yourself and others with social distance and homebound activities. But make sure to keep your attachments to friends, family, and loved ones by calling, texting, using FaceTime or Skype.  

Get your emotional support system in place.   Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possibleRoutines and schedules reduce stress and anxiety in our lives.  Keep your list of support people or tools at your fingertips so you can draw on them easily if needed. 

Think locally, not globally.     Focus on what is happening in your local community and what you can do to keep yourself and neighbors healthy and safe. A sense of community is vital for moving through traumatic situations and builds resiliency in children and adults. 

Practice self-care and make sure others do too.   Be mindful about eating well, keeping a healthy sleep cycle, exercising, and other soothing self-care behaviors. Make sure to avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress. And limit caffeine as it heightens anxiety and irritability. 

Fight helplessness by finding purpose.   The uncertainty that COVID-19 brings can leave many of us feeling unspeakably helpless. Finding purpose can alleviate restlessness and anxiety. Choose things you can control, be it shifting negative thoughts into positive ones, deciding what to cook for lunch, reading a good book, picking what movie you and the kids will watch, or other activities you have power over. 

Let your faith be a beacon of hope 

1Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

Isaiah 41:10:  Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. 

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