In this time of uncertainty and isolation, many of us – at one point or another – find ourselves spiraling down the whirlpool of anxious and intrusive thoughts. To experience fear during times of extraordinary disruption is natural. Though it may feel abnormal we can, at least, gain some solace in knowing that right now, many people around the world affected by this pandemic are experiencing the same (or a similar) type of fear. You are not alone.
Personally, I have noticed coronavirus anxiety rearing its ugly head at least once a day since the pandemic came to America. Each day, I find myself fighting against morbid, intrusive thoughts surrounding the health and wellbeing of my family and friends, especially those on the front lines. Yet, while much of what is happening in my immediate community and around the world is out of my control, I have gained some piece-of-mind by maintaining structure in my day-to-day. Below, I have outlined three domains of wellness, accompanied by activities that I try to do on a regular basis to manage my own anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
- Physical Wellbeing:
A Roman poet once said: mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body). Research continues to promote the positive effects of physical exercise not only on our physical health, but also its benefit to our mental and emotional wellbeing. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends between 2h 30min to 5 hours of moderately intensive physical activity throughout the week. Personally, I have found positive effects to my mental and physical wellbeing from going on a 20 minute jog/walk (whatever I’m feeling that day) and practicing 20 minutes of yoga on the days I don’t have a chance to go outside. Here is one of my favorite 20 minute yoga exercises.
- Mental Wellbeing:
In addition to physical activity, it is also important to exercise the mind. One way I incorporate the practice of mental discipline in my day-to-day is keeping a gratitude journal where I write down 5 things I am grateful for that day. Additionally, having found myself with a little more free time than usual, I signed up for a free online course I recommend to everyone called “The Science of Wellbeing”. This class is a wonderful resource for psychoeducation on improving both mental and emotional health. The best thing about it is that you can listen to the lectures at your convenience, and there is no pressure to meet stressful deadlines.
- Spiritual Wellbeing:
Connecting with your community is extremely important especially during social isolation. Many churches and other houses of worship offer online prayer workshops, and bible studies; AA meetings have moved to online platforms; and apps such as Headspace offer guided group meditations at various times throughout the day. Whether you are religious, spiritual, or neither of these things, it is always important to take steps in connecting with our communities. In doing this, we remember that we’re all in this together, and as such we can gain strength through our collective resilience.