Feeling overwhelmed, helpless, or just generally anxious? You're not alone.
Here are 8 tips to reduce anxiety that can you can practice at home to help maintain your mental health during COVID-19.
Many studies have shown that slow breathing can be used to suppress and reduce stress, including stress associated with certain types of panic attacks. When you’re feeling overwhelmed the easiest thing to do is to stop, sit down, close your eyes and practice deep breathing to help slow your heart rate and bring more oxygen back into your body.
2. Identify What You Can Control
One big factor of anxiety right now could be the feeling of helplessness.
Not knowing when this COVID-19 global pandemic will end, or who is going to get sick can be concerning. It’s true that there are many things happening that are out of your control, but there are many things that you can control.
One exercise that can be helpful when you’re feeling powerless is to get a piece of paper and draw two circles. In one circle, write down all the things that you are worried about that you can’t control. In the other, write down all the things that you can control. Focus your energy on the things that you can control and let go of those you can’t.
3.Get Some Fresh Air
Stepping outside for a breath of fresh air can do wonders when you’re feeling anxious.
Set aside some time to sit outside when it’s cooler in the morning or evening.Going for a brisk walk will help you get out of the house and get some exercise.
Cayman is a very active island and if you’re used to regular exercise, you might be experiencing a bit of a fitness rut which can bring down your mood. If you aren’t used to regular exercise but are feeling a bit lethargic, this is a good time to build a new routine that includes fitness in your day.
Exercising regularly can help release endorphins which put you in a good mood. There are countless online videos and workout plans available, many of them free, that can be done within your home or your yard. You can still get in a good workout at home and with a bit of creativity you can turn household items into weights, run a marathon on your balcony, or challenge yourself to body weight exercises to keep you fit while you shelter in place.
Turn off the news. Take a social media break for a little while.
Disconnect from the constant stream of news and updates from around the world and read a book, build a puzzle, clean out a closet, or do anything else that’s completely unrelated to updates about COVID-19.
6.Take Care of Yourself
Building a healthy daily routine will help to keep the days from blurring together. Simple things like making sure you shower, brush your teeth and get dressed each day can start you off on the right foot you need.
Following a healthy diet makes you feel better physically and mentally. Bringing less sugary and salty snacks into your house and stocking up on healthy food to snack on will make a big difference in your overall mood. Your alcohol intake will also impact your physical and mental health. Reducing your alcohol consumption can greatly improve your mental health.
7. Combat Loneliness By Checking in on Friends & Family
Call a friend or family member.
Finding ways to keep connected while we’re far apart can help to put any feelings of isolation at bay. This is especially true if you live alone.
Not only will calling to check in fill time in an endless day, you’ll also be reassured that they’re doing okay, reducing any anxiety or worry you’re having about their wellbeing.
Loneliness can be a large contributor towards anxiety. Remember to check in on friends or family who live alone. During this time it can be particularly hard to be alone, especially for the elderly.
8.Identify if Your Anxiety has Other Roots
We understand that home, which should be a haven, can feel even less so during the curfew. If your anxiety during curfew is connected to fear for the personal safety of yourself or other family members, there is help available for you.
Domestic Abuse & Child Protection
For critical services, including child protection and domestic abuse, by the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (M.A.S.H), call 1-800-534-2273 or 945-0545 or email MASH@gov.ky.
Support for the Elderly
For critical services support for protection of the elderly, call 1-800-534- 2222 or email email@example.com.
Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC)
The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre (CICC) is a non-Governmental charitable organisation who also provide services and programmes focusing on domestic and sexual abuse. Call the 24-hour Crisis Line on 1-800-534-2422 or 943-2422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are being hurt by your partner, or you suspect someone you know is. Clients access the CICC safe shelter programme through the 24-hour Crisis Line and women and their children may live at the home for up to 60 days.
If you are in distress, or think you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, including a child, and just need someone to talk to, call the 24-hour Crisis Line. This Crisis Line serves the entire Cayman public, men, women and children.
It’s okay to not be okay.
It’s completely normal to be feeling a bit scared, worried or anxious right now. You may be worried about your income and wonder when things will go back to normal. Or you may be overwhelmed with homeschooling your children while working from home. You may also be concerned about your health and the health of your family. It’s a lot to deal with.
You may find these tips on dealing with anxiety useful to help reduce any stress you're experiencing. If you're feeling unable to cope or just want to talk to someone, please call the Mental Health Hotline at 1-800-534-6463 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.