How To Reduce Anxiety During a Pandemic
1. Minimize your consumption of news and social media
While it’s important to stay up to date with current statistics and updates on the pandemic, try to keep your exposure to one hour a day or less to help minimize anxiety.
2. Get outside!
Getting at least 20-30 minutes of sun exposure daily is crucial for your mental health. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase in depressive symptoms and anxiety. You can also ask your primary care provider for a recommended Vitamin D supplement.
3. Get your heart rate up
Movement is one of the most underrated anti-depressant and anti-anxiety interventions. Try doing jumping jacks in your living room, a youtube workout video, or go for a walk outside. Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise is associated with reducing your sympathetic nervous system activity (aka your fight or flight response).
4. Virtually connect
Self-isolating can be detrimental on our mental health. This is why it is so important that we virtually connect with others! Have a virtual happy hour, work out or book club!
5. Start a meditation practice
Right now is the perfect time to start a meditation practice. Start with just 10 minutes a day to receive benefits. Try listening to “Meditate to the Sounds of Nature” playlist on Spotify, or put on any relaxing music, set a timer, close your eyes and practice the breathing technique in #6.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing practice developed by Dr. Andrew Weil (video here)
- Exhale completely through your mouth.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose and count to four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight.
Cycle through the 4-7-8 method while listening to your relaxing music, and stop when the timer is up. Take note on how you feel!
Shannon Keane is the Clinical Administrator at KWC Denver