By Christine Schulz on Thu, Mar 19, 2020
As COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to dominate the news, anxiety levels are continuing to climb. Our daily routines have been drastically altered almost overnight. From social distancing to dramatic stock market drops to closed schools and businesses there is a general sense of panic being circulated during this time. The fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus, or worrying a loved one may contract it, can be frightening. The sudden impact this virus has had on our lives, coupled with our limited knowledge of it, means our future is uncertain...and that uncertainty is impacting our mental health and wellness.
While we may not be able to control the situation we’ve been placed in, we can control how our bodies respond to it. Simply being aware of how fear works and being able to separate the experience of fear from the situation is a huge first step. Here are some other ways to reduce stress and anxiety during this fearful time:
- Breathe to boost your heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is simply a measure in the variation in time between each heartbeat. When someone is in a relaxed state, this measure is normally high. As you might imagine, stress and anxiety will likely impact your HRV and functions like sleep, blood pressure, and even digestion. To increase your HRV to reduce stress and improve resilience, try mindfulness breathing at a rate of six breaths every minute for three minutes.
- Use meditation and breathing exercises to induce calm. Along with boosting your HRV, breathing and meditation exercises bring awareness to your surroundings and help you focus on how to effectively respond to what is stressing you out. Focus on the positive, not the negative, and your overall state of mindfulness will change, providing a more calming and relaxed feeling rather than stress and anxiety.
- Find other ways to be social. We have been thrown into a situation where we have been asked to limit our social interaction with others. For many of us who thrive on being social, this can be extremely difficult to do. Simple actions, like going to the gym or getting out of the office for lunch, may no longer be possible or safe. Although we need to limit our face to face interactions, it’s important to find other ways to be social. Join an online social media group, video chat with a friend, or, as the weather starts to warm up, go for a short walk in your neighborhood and get some fresh air. If you have children or pets, take them with you!
Remember that while you may be preparing physically for the unexpected, you should also think about preparing yourself mentally as well. No matter what COVID-19 (coronavirus) may have you worried about, take some time to focus on your mental health and wellness.
Total Brain is Here to Help
During this time of uncertainty, Total Brain recognizes the need for everyone to manage their mental health. For personal users, we are offering a free 3 month subscription to our platform. Companies who wish to offer a way for their employees to reduce anxiety levels can reach out to us about our free three month corporate subscription. Our mental health and wellness platform offers the ability to monitor anxiety levels and overall mental health, and provides self-care support with over 40 different mind and brain training exercises that help reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus, improve resilience, and more.