Our Top Tips for Managing COVID-19 Anxiety

Trust yourself. So far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. You’re doing great!

Like all paths never traveled, no one is sure of what is to come with this new adventure of “COVID-19.” What seemed “normal” just two weeks ago, has been drastically shifted! No more quality time with our best friends on campus, no in-person meetings with professors and staff, and class and work meetings being hosted remotely. Whether you are feeling comfortable and ready for the journey, or you’re feeling nervous about the road ahead, we have put together a list of friendly reminders – to make certain you, your body, and your health are taken care of during this strange time! ⭐

For You:

  1. Manage your exposure to media. 📲 This can be a tough one! With not much else to do sometimes… we feel ourselves reaching for your devices much more than usual. Not only can long exposure to screen time be detrimental to your sleep and circadian rhythm, but can create unnecessary feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. Try taking a phone break to do something that will support positive thoughts for yourself instead, like your favorite self-care routine, a hobby you may not have picked up for a while, or a friendly debate with a friend about the cutest animal that exists! (We think our vote would have to be the quokka!)

It might be easier to snack and eat intermittently while at home, which can leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Try deciding what you wish to eat the night before so you don’t get off track!

2. Add extra time into your day for intentional stress-relief. 🎨 Without your normal routine of getting ready and driving to work and school, you may find yourself with extra time on your hands. Reducing stress can look different for everyone, but some of our favorite at-home strategies include:

      • Just 10-minutes of stretching to your favorite music
      • Taking a bath at the end of the work day
      • or Enjoying a simple cup of tea with your favorite candle burning!

Throughout the day, little practices can really add up to make your overall being feel much more at peace. ☕

3. Focus on your mental health. 🌿 Structure can be at the forefront of staying well during this time of quarantine and isolation. Developing a daily routine can not only keep you on track with work and school, but also to support your feelings of accomplishment throughout the days and weeks ahead. Try to maintain a normal sleep and wake time, drink plenty of water, eat a nutritious breakfast, make time to exercise, and set daily goals for yourself. Maintaining structure can also keep your mind from negativity and anxiety. Scheduling a call with co-workers or loved ones throughout your day is a great way to keep your connections strong, too.

Create an office space that you love! Consider your senses: sight, smell, and sound, while designing your space. Frequent breaks to get out of your chair to stretch and walk around are great ideas too!

For Your Environment:

  1. Energize your space. 🔥 Where have you been working on your school work or computer since being at home? Take a second to evaluate your space. 🔍 Is it comfortable? Is it somewhere you enjoy going daily? We know that environment plays an enormous role in our overall level of well-being, so taking time to invest in making your work-at-home space magical is not time wasted! Think of your senses: sight, touch, and sound – and make your space match what makes you feel most at east. Nature sounds as you’re typing away (we love calm.com!) a diffuser or a candle in the corner, a comfortable and ergonomic chair, little clutter, soft lamps and/or natural light flowing into your space are all great ideas! It might take a little bit to organize your space – but an investment in your environment can reap big rewards later!

2. Breathe. 🙏 Something so simple that most of us just don’t pay attention to! But – the good news? Even a few minutes per day can make a huge difference! Try it right now! It’s easy:

      • Place your right hand on your heart, and your left on your belly.
      • In strides of four counts, begin to:
        • 1. Breathe in (for four seconds)
        • 2. Hold your breath (for your seconds)
        • 3. Exhale (for four seconds, or longer is good!)
        • 4. Hold/no active breathing (for four seconds)

If you enjoy visual cues, it might help to imagine a square or a box for this breathing activity. Mentally trace the box with each type of breath work (#1-4 above) to help you stay focused. In other words – (1 = visualizing tracing up the left edge of the square for breath in, 2 =  top side of the square for holding your breath, 3 = traveling down  the right side as you exhale, and 4 = bottom of the shape for rest.) Or, try this guiding breathing activity if you’d like to “see” your breath at work! Guided Breath – Expanding & Collapsing Shapes

We are sending everyone our best during this time. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us in the CAC!

We know. This is a difficult and trying time for most of us at NDSU, and for people all around the globe. May we pull together as citizens, colleagues, and friends to meet this uncertain time with optimism, ingenuity, passion, and hard work. Remember to be kinder than necessary and have hope for the future. Lastly, if you’re like to ponder a unique perspective, we’d love to hear what you think about Gurpreet K. Gill’s thoughts about COVID-19 in the exerpt What if…?

From all of us in the CAC – thank you for reading and take good care of yourselves! 🌎

By Rachel Grace
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