We are living through an incredibly difficult time. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and nearly 40,000 people in the United States have died from this virus. Almost all states have issued shelter-in-place orders, forcing the closure of businesses that are deemed non-essential. 22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past month.
The uncertainty about the coronavirus is affecting almost everyone. We don’t know if we will get sick, or if a loved one will contract the virus. We also don’t know how bad things may become, or even how long this current situation will last.
With so many unknowns, it is understandable that many Americans have found their levels of anxiety spiking. It is all too easy to let your fears overwhelm you, particularly given that most of us are stuck at home, with little else to divert our attention.
If you are stressed about coronavirus, there are ways to cope. Below, we have outlined some of the best tips for how you can handle your anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
Stay Informed – But Don’t Obsessively Consume News
During a national emergency, it is important to stay informed. This is particularly true when it comes to learning about what is happening in your community and what you can do to slow the spread of coronavirus. Yet consuming too much news — or the wrong kind of news — can cause your anxiety levels to rise.
How can you create a balance between being informed and not creating stress? There are a number of ways that you can do so.
First, limit yourself to trustworthy sources like your state or local public health authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). There, you’ll be able to get the facts without sensationalism.
Second, think about how often you consume news. Is reading about coronavirus causing you to become overcome with worry? Think about checking for updates once or twice a day, or even asking a trusted friend or family member to pass on daily updates for you.
Third, if you are experiencing high levels of anxiety when you check the news, take a break from it. In this situation, the benefit of getting this information may be outweighed by the toll on your mental health.
Stay Connected — Virtually
One of the hardest parts of the pandemic is the need for us to physically isolate ourselves from other people, even if we are not under orders to self-quarantine. Social distancing is necessary to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, but it carries its own issues. Without being able to connect with our loved ones, loneliness may increase our feelings of anxiety.
Fortunately, technology can help us maintain contact with our friends, family, and colleagues even when we can’t see them. To stay connected, try the following tips:
- Schedule regular phone, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom chats with family and friends. It’ll give you something to look forward to each week!
- Try to talk about something other than coronavirus when talking to loved ones.
- While video chat isn’t a substitute for seeing each other in person, it may help you feel more connected.
- Use social media to stay in touch — but be mindful of how it is making you feel, particularly if you follow people or organizations that are posting a lot of content about the pandemic.
- If you need to, consider scheduling a telehealth appointment with a therapist or other mental health professional.
While virtual visits aren’t the same as actually seeing your loved ones, it may help to reduce your feelings of anxiety.
Focus on What You Can Control
When there are so many things outside of your control — such as where you can go, what other people do, how long this will last, and when your kids can get back to school — it is easy to become weighed down with anxiety. Part of the issue is that there is still so much that we don’t know about the coronavirus itself. Many of the questions that we have are also unanswerable at this point.
When you feel yourself getting stressed about all of these unknowns, take a step back and think about what you can do. The CDC and other public health organizations have released guidance on what each of us can do to control the spread of coronavirus. Focus on what you can personally do, such as:
- Staying home as much as possible
- Avoiding crowds and groups of 10 or more people
- Washing your hands frequently
- Using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- Avoiding non-essential travel and shopping
- Keeping at least 6 feet away from other people when you are out and about
Thinking about what you CAN do — instead of what you can’t do or what you don’t know — can reduce your overall levels of anxiety.
Get Outside, If You Can
If you are able to do so, try to get outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Just being in nature — as opposed to being cooped up inside — can make you feel a lot better and help you put things in perspective. A quick walk around your neighborhood may help to relieve some of your stress.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research, spending as little as 20 minutes outside (such as at a park) — even if you don’t exercise — can improve your well-being. Being outside has a range of benefits, such as boosting your mood, lowering levels of stress and decreasing your blood pressure and heart rate.
Of course, when you go outside, make sure that you are being safe. Stay local, and avoid crowds. If you do see other people, stay at least 6 feet apart.
Exercise is a fantastic way to reduce your stress. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, physical exercise reduces levels of the hormones that are linked to stress (adrenaline and cortisol) and boosts the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood elevators.
Even though we can’t go to the gym right now, there are still plenty of ways to build some exercise into your day, regardless of your fitness level. Take a walk around your neighborhood, go for a bike ride, or check out online classes. Many gyms and fitness studios are offering free classes to help people stay in shape and mentally healthy during this time.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
When you are feeling anxious, it can be hard to get back into a state of equilibrium. One way to reduce your stress is to practice relaxation techniques, such as mediation, deep breathing, or yoga.
When we are stressed, our bodies may react by producing extra hormones, increasing our heart rate, and tensing up our muscles. The stress response can be countered by invoking the relaxation response, which is a state of profound rest.
There are a number of different techniques for relaxing, such as scanning your phone or using guided imagery. Yoga is a popular choice, and can be done with online classes or videos. Try a few different options and see what works best for you!
If your stress and anxiety levels have increased due to the coronavirus, you may be curious about whether CBD (cannabinoid) can help you. CBD is a compound that occurs naturally in cannabis plants; it is not psychoactive and does not cause a person to feel “high.”
Scientific research indicates that CBD may help to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety by interacting with cannabinoid receptors and altering their serotonin signals. Numerous studies have found that CBD may help to alleviate the symptoms of specific anxiety disorders. While more research is needed to determine exactly how CBD may reduce the signs of anxiety, these findings are incredibly promising.
If you do decide to use CBD during this time, it is important to purchase a safe product that has been independently tested. You can do this by:
- Avoiding large consumer marketplaces like Amazon (which restricts the sale of CBD);
- Buying from an online store that independently tests the products that they sell, and makes those lab tests available;
- Making sure that the retailer offers information on where the CBD was sourced. If the CBD is made from hemp that was grown in the United States, then it is coming from a regulated source; and
- Checking for extraction methods, as some methods (like the use of high-pressure CO2) are safer than others.
Once you have found a trusted source for CBD, you can then start the process of figuring out what product is right for you. CBD products come in many forms, such as full spectrum (everything from the source plant), broad spectrum (everything except THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana), or isolate (only CBD). Depending on your needs, you may choose to buy a topical CBD product, raw oil extracts, a CBD tincture, edibles, or even CBD capsules.
If you are confused about the number of items available and which is right for you, take some time to learn about CBD and how products may be used. Certain products may be more helpful than others for reducing stress and anxiety. If you have questions, contact the store owners directly for assistance.
We Are Here to Help
This pandemic has increased the anxiety levels of nearly every American. Many of us are struggling to balance obligations between work and family, while others are experiencing financial stress. From getting outside to taking up yoga to reducing the amount of news that you consume, there are a number of ways that you can alleviate anxiety during this time.
Green Wellness Life is committed to selling safe CBD products that have been independently tested. We offer information to our customers about the latest scientific research on CBD, so that you can make an informed decision. We cannot diagnose medical or mental health conditions, and are not medical professionals.
If you are considering using CBD during this time, we encourage you to explore our website further. We offer a host of information about CBD and its potential benefits. If you would like to learn more, you can call us at 1-888-772-7875, or email us at any time.