If you're like me, you've been waking up with a heavy sense of dread each day. Every morning, I wake up, wonder how all of this is going to work out, and lay in bed reading the latest news. I know this kind of behavior is only increasing my stress, which leads to anxiety, which weakens my immune system, which makes me more anxious.
In order to break out of this, I'm taking steps to calm my anxiety and bring in positive energy. Below are my six tips for reducing anxiety while in the midst of social distancing, quarantine, uncertainty and panic buying.
1 - Put your hands on your heart and breathe
I know this sounds simple, but you have to trust me, it helps. A lot. There's something powerful about putting my hands on my chest and taking some deep, calming breaths. You can do this with your eyes closed or eyes open. Whatever feels best to you. As you breathe, allow the inhales and exhales to grow longer. Relax your face. Relax your forehead. Relax your mouth and jaw. Feel as if you're melting into your chair and breathe.
2 - Get Outside
At this time, getting fresh air and sunshine is more important than ever. If you're capable and it's possible where you live, go for a walk. Moving your body will help your immune system to stay strong. Vitamin D will help your body to heal and regenerate. If you are able to garden, spending time in nature is also another wonderful form of healing.
If you cannot go outside or you are not able to easily move physically, ensure you are getting daily doses of fresh air. Go outside for a few minutes while you sip your morning coffee. Open your window and feel the wind on your face for an afternoon break. By taking these moments to stop what you're doing and focus on self-care you'll help your thoughts to shift in positive ways.
3 - Create a Mantra
Repeating a mantra will help you in two ways. First of all, if you're repeating it there won't be room in your mind for anxious thoughts. And two, repeating the positive words will boost your body's biochemistry in positive ways. It will help you to stay healthier as it boosts your immunity and releases stress.
Your mantra might be something in Sanskrit, such as, "Om Shanti Om", which is all about peace. Peace in your body. Peace in your life. Peace in the world. Or, you may decide you want to repeat familiar words, and try something like, "I am connected to divine love at all times."
Take your time choosing a mantra and find one that speaks to you. When you have it, you can write it and put it all around your living space. The more you see it, the more you will focus on it rather than the things making you anxious.
4 - Do some art
There is no underestimating the healing power of art. Watching a brush glide across a sheet of paper is so calming and soothing. And if you're a terrible artist, even better. Just let go and let the paint fly. Whatever form of art you feel most drawn to, now is the time to dive into it. Play some music, write poetry, or build a mosaic. When we get creative, we tap into the part of our mind that is connected to the cosmic mind (really!). Creativity is a powerful way of getting back into harmony with the divinity and flow of the Universe.
5 - Guided Meditation
If you feel like you can't get control of your thoughts and you're spiraling down, it's time to hand the reins over and let someone else drive. As much as I love meditating in silence, sometimes I am so deep in my anxiety I need someone to guide me back to a place of neutral first. I just need to be a passenger for a minute so I can rest and get my bearings. If this sounds like something you need, I've listed five of my free guided meditations for getting through these times. For more free meditations, Insight Timer and YouTube have thousands of them each.
6 - Limit Your Time Online
Spending hours reading the news, Facebook posts, and Twitter updates is something that feeds into our collective anxiety. If you feel yourself getting more and more worried, take a break from all of that. Step away from your computer or phone, take some deeps breaths, and just feel into the quiet. Then do one of the things listed above - meditate, get outside, get creative. This time spent focusing on what feels good, rather than what's fear-based, will renew your energy and help you to face any obstacles thrown your way.
However, if all your time is focused on reading the latest updates, it will drain your energy, and you will feel overwhelmed and frozen with panic. When we're in a state of panic, all we can see is the long, tumultuous road ahead. Conversely, when we step back, center, and collect ourselves, we are able to see the next step, which leads to the next step, and so on, until we look back and realize we had what it took - we just had to breathe and take it one step at a time.