It’s not just you: Times are tough. The daily developments surrounding the coronavirus epidemic have us all feeling apprehensive, anxious and stressed at times. The good news: There are simple things you can do to feel better fast. First, turn off the TV news. Next, read this list of experts’ advice on how to get through a difficult day.
1. Take A Breath
An incredibly effective anti-anxiety tool is your own breath. Practice deep breathing: Breathe in for a count of four, then out for a count of four. You’ll find yourself relaxing almost immediately.
2. Take A Break
Distract yourself from a stressful day by taking a ten-minute break to do something relaxing, like stretching, meditating or going for a walk.
3. Keep To Your Routine
“Maintain as normal a routine as you possibly can,” says Steven Rosenberg, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and behavioral specialist in Philadelphia. “It’s easier to cope with whatever is going on. But you have to be realistic. When you’re under stress, it can make things harder to do. Be patient with yourself, allow plenty of time to get things done, but a schedule is important.”
“Escape a little bit, if you can, through nice music or meditation,” says Rosenberg. “Learning how to clear your mind can really help you get through a stressful period of time, whether it’s this pandemic or a difficult time in your life.”
5. Connect With Others
Take some time to socialize with friends and family. Isolation only worsens stress and anxiety.
6. Get Some Exercise
Exercise lowers stress hormones in the body and helps release endorphins, chemicals that naturally improve your mood. Even a quick walk around the block can help.
7. Tune Out The Negative
If you’re anxious about something that’s going on in the news, switch off TV news channels and don’t spend the day on news sites. Stay informed by checking in briefly a few times a day.
8. Eat Well
“Take some time, even if minimally, to enjoy a hearty breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner,” says Matt Glowiak, Ph.D., LCPC, a therapist and professor in New York City. “Homemade meals are generally not only healthier but also elevate happy neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.”
9. Get Good Sleep
“Another great way to get through those extra tough days is to try and improve your overall sleep schedule,” says physician Anna Cabeca, DO. “Do so by making a point to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.”
Put on a favorite comedy show or watch YouTube videos. Laughter decreases stress and increases endorphins, those feel-good hormones that activate the body’s opioid receptors, which decrease discomfort.