The past two months have been filled with uncertainty, with breaking news regarding the global pandemic around every corner. Many of us have found ourselves suddenly plunged into a new normal. Schools across the country have been closed, and New Jersey has issued a Stay at Home Order for all residents. In this time of fear and confusion, you might be feeling anxious or stressed out. It is totally normal to have this reaction, but here are a few ways you can manage your anxiety:
- Try doing yoga once a day, or at least once a week, if you’re up for the challenge. Yoga is proven to relieve stress and calm the nervous system and can positively affect mild depression and sleep problems. Check out Yoga with Adrienne’s channel on YouTube: she has a whole playlist for yoga to help anxiety and one for beginners as well.
- Meditation allows you to center your mind and realign your thoughts. Take a few minutes out of your day to leave behind worries with meditation apps like Headspace and Calm. Here’s a two-minute meditation to start.
- Looking for a new hobby? Gardening can actually make you feel happier and more optimistic. Who couldn’t use that right now? Spend some time planting or weeding in your yard if you have one, or try your hand at growing vegetables indoors from kitchen scraps. It’s easy and a great way to eat fresh vegetables if you can’t run to the store.
- Sometimes you just need a break. With all the time on your hands, give in to the binging impulse. Mindless television might be just what you need right now, so chill out for a few hours watching Tiger King on Netflix.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood. Just because you can’t go out, it doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. It’s important to get out of the house and stretch your legs. Maybe take a walk after dinners or in the mornings for a half-hour, by yourself or with a family member. Just make sure to keep a distance of at least six feet between you and anyone you come across.
- Put in your earbuds and listen to music. Studies show it can lift your mood and reduce anxiety. Create a playlist of songs that will make you smile or dance.
- Unplug from the news cycle. It’s important to stay up to date on new precautions or guidelines, but hearing distressing news constantly can take a toll on your mental state. Limit how much you tune in or cut it off completely and have a family member give you only necessary updates.
- Start a quarantine routine. Life may feel chaotic right now, so come up with a daily schedule, which will give you a sense of stability and decrease anxiety. Try waking up at the same time on weekdays and completing school work in the mornings, for instance.
- Get dressed! How you’re dressed can have a direct impact on your mental state. If you’re feeling down, wear one of your favorite outfits, do your hair or makeup, etc. Whatever makes you feel more like you!
- If your anxiety is related to feeling helpless, there are many ways to contribute to COVID-19 relief. The Library of the Chathams is attempting to make 1,000 masks to send to front-line workers like medical professionals. If you have a sewing machine or are really skilled, check out the challenge. They’ll even deliver materials to your home if you need them, and library volunteers will come to pick up the finished masks. Another simple way to help others is to call your neighbors or relatives to check in and catch up with each other. But the most important thing you can do is staying home to keep yourself and others safe, so you are making a huge difference just by doing that.
These are just a few simple ways to stay calm and reduce your anxiety, but if you feel overwhelmed, please talk to your parents or guardian. The school counselors are still available, so email yours if you are having trouble managing your stress, feeling depressed, or want to talk to someone. Stay home and stay safe, and we will hopefully be back to normal soon!