Happy Friday. Today in North Carolina, we are entering phase one of our state’s reopening plan at 5:00 PM. While there are many reasons to feel encouraged by this — and by the ways our state has avoided some of the catastrophic events taking place in cities like New York — there is still a tremendous amount of anxiety many people feel about what we’ve been going through for the last two months, as well as what might happen as we begin to try getting back to normal as much as is safely possible.
Our C.O.O. Debbie Hennessy wants to share some information with the blog today on that very topic. Vox posted an article called How to manage anxiety during a pandemic, and it serves as a helpful reminder that our mental health is as important as our physical health during this time of stress and upheaval.
You can read the article yourself, but if you’re looking for a brief run-down of how to manage your own anxiety right now, here are some tips Vox provides:
- You’re not alone, and your feelings of anxiety are okay.
Learning how to recognize your anxiety for what it is can help you identify where it’s coming from and, importantly, what you can do about it.
- Taking action can help mitigate feelings of anxiety
The Vox article is quick to point out that identifying a course of action to ease your anxiety might not lead you to actually take that action right away — you may need to sit with your feelings for a while before you feel ready — but even so, planning a solution or strategy after identifying the specific cause of your anxiety can help you deal with what can otherwise be an overwhelming feeling of drowning in your own fears. Writing down what you’re afraid of can be a good first step towards figuring out how you can face those fears head-on once you’re in a good place to do so.
- Take it one day at a time, and be kind to yourself
Some days are going to feel harder than others. In this current situation we all find ourselves living in, the news shifts from hour to hour, never mind day to day. Some days you will be able to avoid the news, while other days you may find yourself unable to look away. Be kind to yourself when you have bad days. Think about what your bad days may have in common, if they have anything in common at all.
- Learn how to calm yourself and then make it a practice
All of these steps should ultimately lead you toward the self-knowledge to get to this step. How do you feel sitting with your eyes closed and listening to music? Do you feel calm and centered when you bake? When you read a novel? When you get outside in the yard? Pay attention to your feelings — good and bad — and make a point to do the things that make you feel calm and content. It may take time to train yourself to make a real practice of these meditative activities, but your mental health is worth the effort.
If you need services, including peer support, during this or any other time, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (336) 767-7060. We’re here to help.