No doubt people are feeling on edge, anxious and fearful. Having our basic physical needs met is certainly important. Mental health and well-being are also essential, especially during an emergency. When we are stressed or anxious, cortisol levels can rise. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Much research has been done to show how increased cortisol levels can compromise our immune systems.
One of the best things we can do is to try and reduce our stress and bolster our immune system. One way is by learning to reframe your current thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic. You can empower yourself and stay mentally healthy by staying calm and not panicking. Model peace and a composed attitude for your family members and especially for your children. Your children will take their cues from you. If you model a calm heart and mind, they too may be less anxious or fearful.
When you begin to think differently about our current health crisis, you may be able to better manage your anxiety and fear. You also can create new neural pathways in your brain for better mental health and well-being. Fear activates our fight-or-flight response system in the amygdala of our brain. When we exercise a calm mind, we can deactivate the fight-or-flight response, calming our central nervous system. This will also assist you in having greater perspective, clarity, and better decision-making for you and your family.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend one of the best ways to stay well is to exercise social distancing. With schools, universities, and businesses taking a pause for the next couple of weeks, it means many are home bound. However, being at home is not the worst thing that can happen. Instead of focusing on the hardships, try focusing on some of the good things.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend one of the best ways to stay well is to exercise social distancing.
15 Activities You Can Do at Home
- Do a home project.
- Get your garden ready for spring.
- Spend some quality time with your children. Play some board games or cards.
- Try baking some cookies or a cake.
- Try cooking a new recipe.
- Watch a good movie or binge on some Netflix.
- Dream and envision something for your business.
- Do some spring cleaning.
- Listen to some good music.
- Teach your dog a new trick. That is, of course, if you have a dog.
- Exercise. Stretch. Practice yoga. Walk.
- Make a gratitude list.
- Take a nap and catch up on some sleep.
- Read a good book.
- Try journaling.
If you are feeling anxious, try using some diaphragmatic breathing. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit or lie down. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Your breathing should be felt in your lower abdomen area. Place your hand on your abdomen. You should see your hand rising and lowering as you are breathing. Try this type of breathing for a minimum of 5 minutes to calm your body down. You may want to practice this several times a day.
Taking a break from the news or social media may be a good idea. It is certainly wise to keep abreast of breaking news; however, for some, too much can cause anxiety levels to rise. Be wise about how much you take in. Keep in mind that for most of us, we will be fine. Our responsibility is to practice prudent measures, like social distancing and washing our hands so that we don’t spread the virus.
Remember to try and stay calm. Maintain a good perspective. We will get through this crisis. Exercise good decision making, follow CDC guidelines, and be responsible for your part.
© Copyright 2020 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Angela Bisignano, PhD
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