Pervasive and vast, COVID-19 has impacted most facets of life. The ongoing and rapidly evolving reality of this pandemic has led to a staggering increase in anxiety and depression among all age groups, financial distress, isolation, loneliness, trauma, relational/family tensions, psychosis, suicidal ideation and long term stress. (MHA)
Here are some tips, tricks, skills, and strategies our staff has compiled to help you experience some relief from the anxiety and depression you are experiencing.
(1) Focus on the present day as best you can.
(2) Have a stress ball
(3) Create Mini-Breaks (5 minutes or less) for yourself. Here are some mini-break suggestions:
- Get outside if even for 3 minutes and feel the sun (or rain!) on your face.
- Watch a funny video in the middle of a stressful day. Laughing is important!
- Stand up and do 10 jumping jacks
- Dance to 1 song
(4) Exercise – even a short walk will do the trick.
(5) Limit your news and social media intake.
(6) Plan something exciting to look forward to.
(7) People are important! Schedule social interactions in ways that feel comfortable, which at times requires 2 things:
1. Brainstorming creative ways to interact with friends and family within the boundaries you feel comfortable with (meeting at a park, sitting on camping chairs in their yard, just dropping by with one standing in the yard and the other on the porch). Even small interactions can make a big difference.
2. Figure out how to navigate the tension if you have different comfort levels than friends/family or when you feel pressure to put yourself in situations you do not feel uncomfortable with.
(8) Do some Body “Tricks”:
- Stand like Superman or Wonder Woman: (fists on hips, shoulders back, chin up) as a way of influencing mood and confidence (this actually works!).
- “Fake laughing” (your body doesn’t distinguish between fake laughing and real, and releases dopamine when you do either).
- Engage in “Action Opposite Emotion” (a Dialectical Behavior Therapy strategy): When feeling anxious, listening to upbeat music or orchestral music from adventure movies. When sad, whistle a happy tune (Smurfs theme is a good one for a giggle). Others like this.
- Making faces: Make the face of a mood (Angry: eyes narrowed, eyebrows together, lips pressed together, corners of mouth turned down. Surprised: eyebrows up, eyes wide, mouth open in an “O”). The body begins to generate the feeling of the face. Noting what your face is doing and working to change the face can change the mood. Smoothing an angry face can actually reduce the feelings of anger.
Most of all remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU MATTER, and YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS HARD TIME. We remain here for you, when needed, to care for your mental and emotional wellness.
The Avenues Counseling Staff