Life as we know it has been changing daily since the coronavirus (COVID-19) started hitting the United States (including our community right here in Berks County, Pennsylvania). Businesses and schools are closed, social distancing is the new “normal,” grocery stores are packed and people are hoarding toilet paper. We never saw this coming as we came into 2020, now did we?
With all the changes and uncertainty, fear and anxiety seem to be at a whole new level for everyone. Fear and anxiety can affect our daily lifestyle, relationships, and personality, but we can implement healthy coping strategies to help us with the unpredictability our culture is facing.
Here are a few ways to reduce anxiety if you are feeling overwhelmed:
- Do something creative-
Whether it’s journaling, painting, drawing, playing an instrument, or writing poetry, creativity reduces stress and allows us to have fun and express ourselves which promotes relaxation.
- Talk to a friend-
Social distancing may be necessary right now, but with technology, we have more options than ever to connect virtually and stay in touch with loved ones.
- Talk a walk-
Use your five senses to orient yourself to your surroundings. What you can see, touch, smell, hear and even taste (make sure it’s healthy and safe!) helps to ground us to the present rather than worrying about the future.
- Express gratitude for anything and everything you can-
Every emotion we have has its own neural pathway in our brains. So, when we are thankful, we actually can’t fuel the anxiety, because the brain is focused on being grateful! Isn’t that an interesting fact?
- Do some breathing exercises-
Something simple to try is to breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold it for seven counts, and then release your breath through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat this cycle a few times and your overall system should begin to relax because more oxygen is getting to your brain.
- Seek professional counseling if you are contemplating any kind of self-harm or the feeling of anxiety does not subside within a reasonable time period-
Some anxiety and fear goes beyond just “the blues,” and talking to a professional is sometimes necessary. If you aren’t sure where to turn, please contact our office by phone, text or email, and we’ll help you get the resources you need.
If you need someone to talk to, we’re here for you. At Life’s Choices, we have resources to share and a listening ear to help support you during this time. We are implementing community support at both of our offices in regards to coping with the anxieties of this particular time. We are providing encouragement cards with Scripture verses available to take from our porch at Kutztown or outside the office at Hamburg. We also invite you to text or call us with any prayer requests!
We see you, and you aren’t alone. Contact us for support — we’d love to hear from you!