6 best ways to cope with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Papri Mukhopadhyay

The glimpses of oxygen crisis, heap of dead bodies, mass funerals are indeed choking our throats, making us scared and shaking our minds regularly. Do you ever feel like that you can’t concentrate properly on the book of your favorite writer like before? Are you frequently feeling a suppressed fear of losing your loved ones in the inner apartment of your mind?

If your answer is ‘yes’, then it’s the right time to nurture your soul and pamper yourself a little more. Because most probably you are suffering from anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a part of our human life. We all experience it. Anxiety is generally characterized by feeling nervous, fearful, panicky and worrying about what might happen. Anxiety has a close relationship with fear. Fear is supposed to be a natural, powerful response to something which is threat to our physical safety. Fear is said to be triggered by the perception of danger; real or imaginary.

Nowadays all of us are acquainted with the term “depression”. Today depression or anxiety disorders are very common to us. 150 – 200 years back there were anxiety disorders too. People of that era must have gone through this disorders, but the proper diagnosis was beyond imagination of people at that time. If we discuss about some of the famous personalities who have suffered from anxiety related psychological issues, the names such as Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh and Winston Churchill would worth mentioning.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, the real hero and savior of the Union during the US civil war and emancipator of enslaved people had also gone through anxiety and depression. Losing his mother at 9, elder sister at 18 and fiance Anne Rutledge at 28 he became totally devastated. Lincoln had lost 10 out of his 12 children also. These losses and his own feeling of inadequacy resulted in deep anxiety throughout his life. Psychiatric researchers and history researchers have considered that he had suffered from severe generalized anxiety disorder.

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh had experienced similar phase in his life. He had to spend some time in an asylum. As his brother committed suicide and his sister had schizophrenia he has been considered as a topic in genetic studies.

One of the most powerful prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill had written about his suffering from severe depression which he termed as “Black dog”.

To manage your anxiety in this pandemic situation what you need first is self-care. In addition to self-nurturing there are few more ways to cope with the anxiety during pandemic days.

Now, we are going to highlight six best ways to manage anxiety in these challenging days.

Interaction: Interact openly with people who you think understand you. Through interaction you express your state of mind which lowers your stress-level and anxiety. In order to interact you can choose your siblings, partner, parents and friends. But you should be careful in choosing your companion who should be someone whom you can trust, to whom you can be the real you, who would never judge you and most importantly who accepts you as you are. As in this present scenario, physical meeting with your friends or near ones may not be possible, you can opt for virtual mode of communication to interact with them.

Healthy and active lifestyle: Being active helps you to release the feel-good hormones (Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin etc.) in your body which helps to release stress. Try to be active as much as possible. Give yourself at least 40 minutes daily to become active. There are handful of ways to be active such as walking, cycling, jogging, exercising, gardening, doing household chores and playing a sport like cricket, football etc as per your choice and feasibility.

Apart from being active you must keep healthy stuffs in you daily diet as well. A healthy and balanced diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, cereals, lentils, egg, lean meat, nuts and dairy products. You need to drink a lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. In your daily diet try to add some fruits which induce happy-hormones and help to combat with stress. You can choose spinach, dark chocolate, avocado and fresh fruits as they play a crucial role in making you happy.

Be creative: Creating things in your own is a fascinating way to express yourself. You can stimulate your creativity through drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, writing, cooking, playing any musical instrument and decorating your space etc. You can utilize your leisure time to follow your passion and interest to satisfy your mind.

Relaxation: Try to allot a window of 20 minutes regularly for relaxation. You can choose some of the breathing exercises. Breadth deeply and try to feel your surroundings: what you see, hear, smell and feel. Practicing this technique you can enhance your level of mindfulness. You can either perform yoga at your home or join yoga classes. Make a habit of meditation for at least 2 – 5 minutes a day. A sound sleep of 6 -8 hours is very much important for a good mental as well as physical health. Try to maintain good sleep habits such as properly scheduled bed-time, avoiding caffeine late in a day and sincerely keeping aside the electronic gadgets at least one hour before your regular bed-time.

Avoid negativity: Try to maintain a balance between being informed by the print, electronic or social media and not becoming addicted to them. Consuming the news with negative information causes our body to release stress hormones like adrenaline. So, read or watch the news to gain valuable and necessary information so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Family time: Due to the present situation we are staying in home throughout the day. So, try to spend quality time with your family members. With all of your family members you can play some indoor games or you can cook for your loved ones. Allot much more time for the children of your home and pets as they have the capability to magically reduce all your stresses.

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