I am feeling really anxious about COVID-19 and its impact on my life. What should I do?
In situations like a pandemic it is very normal to feel anxious and powerless, and that is okay. Here are a few suggestions on things that could help you proactively manage your anxiety:
Think about how you are feeling. Don’t ignore your feelings, especially if you don’t feel well. When your life is disrupted, it is normal to have many different feelings: worry, frustration, sad, stress, anger, anxiety – this can happen to everyone. Draw on skills and strategies you have used in the past that have helped you to manage life challenges, and skills to help you manage your emotions. Here are a few examples:
- Keep a diary
- Express your feelings through art, like writing a poem, drawing, dancing, or playing music
- Talk about your feelings and concerns with someone you trust
- Try some breathing exercises. You may find guided breathing exercises online if you have access to internet.
Do something active every day: Any exercise will help, as it reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, which can help your body and mind relax. Exercise also produces a “feel good hormone” called endorphins which can help to improve your mood. Try taking a walk, running, or any physical activity outdoors while keeping a distance from others. For those who are unable to leave the house, you could open the window for fresh air and do some indoor exercises to stay active.
Don’t use smoking, eating, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions.
Stay connected with friends and family either by communicating with them by phone or internet if you can., If you live close to them and the local rules allow you to, you could also talk to them in person while keeping your distance.
Keep a daily routine as much as possible. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, making sure you get enough sleep. Plan ahead and try to have a balance of activities such as keeping up with schoolwork, physical exercise, connecting with friends and family, doing things you enjoy, and eating regular meals.
Talk to a health worker or counsellor if you, or someone you care about:
- feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, fears and worries
- feel like stress gets in the way of your daily routines, or
- feel like you want to harm yourself or others.
At this time, you may find it easier to speak to a counsellor than a health worker, given that there may be restrictions on movement and health facilities may be busy caring for those with COVID-19.
This message is brought to you with support from EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project.