How to Cope With Anxiety and Fear During the Pandemic

Posted by Shanda Gunter, ReNew Director, on Mar 19, 2020

How to Cope With Anxiety and Fear During the Pandemic

It’s hard to turn on the TV or scroll though social media without triggering anxiety or fear right now. The world is in a state of chaos, there is so much unknown, and we are all feeling it. Everyone has felt anxiety before, but many are feeling it for the first time in a big way. So, let’s learn how to tackle it.

First, we need to understand what anxiety is. Anxiety is the body’s response to situations that are interpreted as threatening. When I explain anxiety to my six-year-old, I tell him that anxiety kind of feels like when you know you’re going to get in trouble. It takes over your mind, making it difficult to concentrate on other things and to sleep at times, your heart rate increases, you may have an upset stomach, you’re likely to avoid the source of your anxiety, and it can leave you in a constant state of worry.

Once we recognize our anxiety, we can move forward by using healthy coping skills. Here are some ways we can cope with anxiety and fear during a time of crisis.

What We Can Do to Manage Our Anxiety and Fear

  1. Breathing Exercises: One of the best things we can do is breathing exercises. I love to use the Breathe app that came on my Apple Watch. There is a similar app available for both Apple and Android phones called The Breathing App. These apps help you focus on your breathing and become aware of your body’s response. Taking deep breaths for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds in 1-2 minute time frames will help you gain control over your body and ground yourself.
  2. Meditation: Meditation is also great for managing anxiety and fear. The idea behind meditation is that you clear your thoughts from the things that worry you and focus on positives and things that you have control over. Meditating on scripture can help ease your worries. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” And it’s a great one to use for this exercise.
  3. Create a Daily Routine: Speaking of control, this is a time where many of us feel out of control. We don’t know what is next, and that is scary. Our lives have been turned upside down and many of us feel lost. As best as you can, try to implement a daily schedule for you and your family to follow. It will give each of you a sense of control in your lives and clarity of what comes next. Even if the next thing is lunch or nap time, you all know what to expect.
  4. Go Outside: Lastly, try to go outside. If you have a backyard or patio, get some fresh air and vitamin D. It’s good for you!

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