What you need to know
What even is anxiety? Everyone has felt anxiety, and it is an essential part of human life, but it can be debilitating. Knowing exactly what is happening when you feel anxious can help you to understand what to do about it. The video below explains what anxiety is, and when it becomes a problem.
How can you take steps to reduce your anxiety?
- While staying up to date on news of the pandemic is important, taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media is a good idea. Hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting, so consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from your phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Taking care of your body is often a way to take care of your mind as well. Try to eat healthy, satisfying meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of good sleep, avoid excessive substance use, and continue to adhere to proper social distancing and masking guidelines.
- If you have space, get outside! Fresh air and a chance to walk around can be a good way to lift your spirits and improve your mood.
- With work and school being largely remote still for many people, it can be hard to distinguish between working time and time spent relaxing at home. Make sure to set aside time to relax and unwind, and take breaks during your work and school day. It may be helpful to set up a schedule for yourself, such as stopping all work at 6 pm. If you have too much on your plate to commit to this, even taking a 10-15 minute break to walk around the block or get a snack can help.
- Socializing safely is another great thing for your mental health. Talking to someone you trust about your worries can reduce stress, and connecting with others can bring you a sense of meaning and joy.
Take this poll to vote on which strategy you want to try: https://www.survey-maker.com/poll3589308x1AFb49F5-108
What can we as a society do?
While individual-level work is great, real change is most impactful on a societal level. Societal work is difficult and takes time, but change at this level helps a lot of people. This is where my project idea comes in. While this idea is just a proposal, programs like this can help entire communities.
My project is a support group designed specifically with teenagers and the pandemic in mind. My support group would meet either over zoom or in-person when possible (if case numbers are low enough, etc.). We would be open to any teenager (13-18) who can make it! Transportation reimbursement for bus fare would be available to those who need it when we meet in person. Meetings would be once a week, on Sunday afternoons, and each one would be totally optional. This way people can come and go as they please and as their schedule allows. Each meeting would be led by an older peer, and they would start by checking in with the group about how everyone’s week has been and how they are feeling. Next, the leader would facilitate a group meditation or yoga session that is anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on what the group is feeling that day. There would also be an opportunity for the group to socialize afterward to get that sense of group and community support that is lacking from many people’s lives right now. The meetings will take place at a local community center or park if the weather is nice.
The goal of these sessions is to foster both a sense of community and connection, but also to utilize the proven positive psychology benefits of meditation and yoga. Hopefully, these sessions will also teach the members about different strategies that they can use to navigate how they are feeling on a given day. In order to give you a better sense of what an average session would look like, I’ve included a guided meditation example and a yoga example. Feel free to try these out!
Scan this QR code or click the link to post about your experience with either of these strategies.
What are your thoughts?
I would love to hear about strategies you have tried to combat anxiety, your experience with mental health and the pandemic, or ideas/questions about my project! Please leave a comment below.
If you are in crisis, get immediate help:
- Call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat external icon
- Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chatexternal icon or text: 8388255
- Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish).
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116 – TTY Instructionsexternal icon
- How Right Now
- Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
- General Public: Care for Yourself
- Young Adults: Care for Yourself
- HHS ASPR TRACIE COVID-19 Behavioral Health Resources
- Food and Food System Resources During COVID-19 Pandemic
For Families and Children
- Helping Children Cope During the Pandemic
- Helping Children Cope with Emergencies
- Coping After a Disaster
- Teen Depression
- Parents: Care for Yourself
- Family Caregivers: Care for Yourself
- Students: Care for Yourself
- Food Assistance Programs
For People at Higher Risk for Serious Illness
For Healthcare Workers and First Responders
- Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Emergency Responders: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
- Disaster Technical Assistance Center
- First Responders: Care for Yourself
- Clinicians: Care for Yourself
For Other Workers
- Employees: How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Working Adults: Care for Yourself
- Critical Workers: Care for Yourself
- Teachers: Encourage Your Students to Care for Themselves pdf icon[976 KB, 1 page]
Works Cited: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y_ebe2AXZmyaYXJ2XBlRnNXRI0zUNgxPQl93gkm3A4g/edit?usp=sharing