During this pandemic, it’s not just getting sick that people are worried about—it’s the health and safety of the ones they love. It’s financial wellness, job security, medical benefits, uncertain futures, and kids being at home without support. There are so many factors playing into why we’re experiencing culture-wide anxiety and stress (and if you have an autoimmune condition, you might feel additional anxiety).
It gets worse when you add in social distancing. Normally, we can combat anxiety by aligning ourselves with our support systems. Having a drink with friends. Catching up with a family member over coffee. Going to the gym to let off some steam. But in a time when staying away from people is mandated (and will help #flattenthecurve to stop the spread of disease), how can you calm your completely understandable anxiety?
We have a few tips to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling from the consistent uncertainty. One thing to note: We’re talking about the situational, day-to-day anxiety that’s arising from the impact of COVID-19. If what you’re experiencing is becoming unmanageable or it’s pervasive, generalized anxiety or depression, please talk to your doctor about getting additional support.
5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety During Social Distancing
Try an App for Social Interaction
One way to circumvent the feeling of loneliness or isolation is to recreate the experience you’d normally have, virtually! Download an app on your phone such as HouseParty, where you can play trivia and card games with friends. Plan a Zoom night with family to have a virtual happy hour, host a book club, play an easy game like Bingo.
Add in Calming Supplements & Teas
There are so many plants that have calming effects on the nervous system. Consider incorporating them into your routine to help your body restabilize and activate your parasympathetic nervous system.
- Passionflower is one of my favorite herbs for mental rumination and thoughts that just won’t quit. It can help calm the brain down and calm the body down. It’s best taken in tincture or tea form!
- Chamomile tea is another easy one to reach for. “A Cup of Calm” is a wonderful way to describe the body calming effects of chamomile.
- Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Using flowers that have been studied for their calming, soothing impact, these little pastilles (or the liquid form) can be great at helping to reduce anxiety and nervousness.
Start Meditating (And Deep Breathing)
If you haven’t started meditating, now’s likely the right time. Meditation can soothe anxiety and racing thoughts, it can calm your sympathetic nervous system, and it can help you feel re-energized and focused. Doctors are even prescribing meditation as treatment—that’s how powerful it is. Here are three super simple ways to start:
- Balance App: Right now, this personalized (like tailored-to-you) meditation app is waiving one full free year of its services, because of the pandemic. You’ll get access to daily meditations that are compiled for your personal needs, and single meditations you can use when you need a quick hit, a reminder to breathe, or help sleeping.
- Journaling: I call this “active meditation.” Start with a piece of blank paper and just stream-of-consciousness write whatever comes to mind. Don’t stop it—just start writing. Let your mind and subconscious work their way through your feelings and allow your hand to be the vehicle to get it on paper.
- Gratefulness Journaling: Each morning when you wake up, write out 3 things you’re grateful for. By focusing on the good, we can retrain our brain to find the blessings in disguise and all the positive things we have in our life right now.
Start Financial Wellness Planning
Finances might be one of the things you’re stressing about, with all the job loss and instability happening right now. That’s why it’s a great time to start redefining what financial wellness looks like for you. Finding a program that helps to reduce debt and encourages you to create savings that can cover 3-6 months of living expenses can help ease anxiety if life throws you another curveball. Try these resources:
Being in nature has a sense of calming and creates a grounding, peaceful effect on our bodies. There is science behind “grounding” or “earthing” and its positive effects on the immune system, and the nervous system. Plus, it’s free!
Try this: Take your shoes off and put your feet on the grass. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Hold for 4 seconds. Exhale. Repeat the breathing exercise 4 times before you head back inside.
Feeling like your anxiety is too much, and you need a little more support? We’re here for you, virtually, every step of the way. Give us a call (952-222-7670) to schedule a visit with a MIMC team member who can help you today!
Dr. Cassie Wilder is a registered Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and founder of MIMC. Her passion is empowering her patients through education, understanding, and support through their healing journey. After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Health, Dr. Wilder earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ. During her clinical training, she received extensive hands-on training with many leading experts in the field of functional medicine and developed a passion for treating hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular concerns, and adrenal fatigue.