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Managing COVID-19 Anxiety


It's OK that you are feeling anxious!

We are in the middle of a unique crisis - our daily lives have been disrupted and we aren't sure what the next day may bring.
You're not alone and anxiety is a normal response.

Acknowledge your feelings

Acknowledging your feelings, even if they're scary, can help you cope in a healthy way.
Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, but some common symptoms include:

     - Excessive and intrusive worry, restlessness, tension, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and/or trouble sleeping.

Checking in with kids - when kids are feeling anxious, it may or may not be clear to parents. Anxiety could look like:

     - Reassurance seeking, reluctance to separate from caregivers, physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches, irritability, tantrums or meltdowns, and/or trouble sleeping.

Techniques to help manage anxiety

Stay informed, but do not obsessively check the news.

     - It is vital to stay informed, particularly about what is happening in your community; but there's a lot of misinformation going around. Being informed is one thing, being overexposed is another.

     - Stick to trustworthy sources such as CDC, the World Health Organization, and your local public health authorities.

     - Limit how often you check for updates.

          - Consider putting a limit on the number of articles you read or for how long you will watch news about coronavirus each day.

     - Step away from (social) media if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Focus on what you're doing right now.

     - Stay focused on what's happening now rather than what might happen later on.

     - If you start to feel yourself spin into negativity or panic, grounding yourself in the present can stop that spiral:

          - Bring your attention to your breath and your body. Focus all of your attention on the here and now: noticing sights, sounds, smells, and what you are feeling in your body. Continue to breath slowly in and out - gently bringing your mind back to your body and breath every time it drifts - until you feel more calm.

     - There are countless free meditation, grounding, and mindfulness resources online, here is one:

          - https://mindfulnessexercises.com/free-guided-meditations-mindfulness-talks/

Rely on routines

     - Establishing a routine that involves regular meals, exercise, and a regular sleep schedule is crucial to regulating our worries and moods.

Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family

     - Think about scheduling regular phone, chat, or skype/zoom dates to stay social.

Take time for activities you enjoy

     - Read a book, watch a comedy, play board games, etc.

Modeling appropriate self-care, positive thinking, and anxiety coping strategies can be the key to help children handle their own anxiety and worries - children copy behaviors of their caregivers!

Reach out to talk to a professional if your anxiety becomes unmanageable.

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