Anxiety Strategies in the Time of COVID-19

Anxiety Image

Anxiety. I think it’s safe to say that most people, if they’re being honest, would say that they’ve experienced some level of anxiety the last 5 months during the pandemic.

School leaders are faced with the extremely difficult task of navigating how to re-open their schools safely, whether that looks like virtual learning for a while and transitioning to in-person or a mix of both. Teachers and staff are torn between their passion of educating the next generation and limiting the risk of exposure to their own loved ones.

Parents are also in the unenviable position of trying to figure out what’s best for their families, whether it’s school at home, pod schooling, or a hybrid model, all while doing their best to still work and provide for their family.

When things feels overwhelming, remember that you are not alone in your feelings. Also know that there are some practical ways to deal with anxiety to help with your overall well-being. Let’s explore these concepts.

Life on the Corona-Coaster

An internet buzzword that’s popular right now is “Corona-coaster”. It’s a term to describe the up and down and whipped all around feeling that you typically experience on a rollercoaster, but instead it’s what many of us can feel like from day to day.

One day we are great. We’re working our plan to stay home, stay safe, get our workout in, eat well, and enjoy the extra time with our loved ones.

The next day we are NOT so well. We are NOT working our wellness plan. Instead, we are experiencing a racing heart, thoughts running wild in our brains, and utter exhaustion for seemingly no identifiable reason.

Our appetite may be gone or we may be ravenously hungry for all the comfort foods (cue Google search of how to make sourdough bread starter and banana bread!). That, my dear friends, is a trip on the “Corona-coaster”. And sometimes you experience that shift all in one day. Which induces anxiety, among other emotional wellbeing concerns. 

You Are Not Alone

Don’t forget that you are not alone. Anxiety in the time of COVID-19 is very real. A trip to the grocery store can induce an anxiety attack with your chest pounding and your throat tightening because now that trip to the grocery store means the possibility of exposing you and your loved ones to a horrid virus. 

Ask any school counselor right now, how are you doing? If they’re honest, the answer is probably not great. School counselors are some of the most resilient and courageous people in the world. They sit with students and families through some of the hardest moments in their education.

Anxiety is experienced at every age and stage of life. So, what can we do about it? Here’s a few things to consider: 

Anxiety Strategies

1.     Talk to someone. Sometimes just saying the words out loud, “I feel anxious!” makes a huge difference in your overall level of anxiety. When we name our feelings, we become more in control of them. 

2.     Know your limits. Understand when to turn off the news and log out of social media. Know when it’s time to just order pizza and not try to muscle through cooking. It’s okay to not be at 100% right now. Good enough IS enough!

3.     Get outside and move. We all know that moving our bodies and being outdoors has so many, many benefits. Right now, since not much else is available, it’s the prime time to reset our mindsets and habits. Even a 15 minute walk around your neighborhood can boost the happy chemicals in your brain!

If you’re wanting to learn more information and strategies about how to help not just yourself, but staff, students, and their families cope with anxiety, please join us on September 24th for “Not Your Average Anxiety: Coping During COVID”. You’ll walk away encouraged and equipped to start this unique school year with a sense of confidence and calm!

To learn more coping strategies for anxiety, join us at our online mental health series webinar!

JoEllen is the Mental Health Liaison between Region 13 and the Local Mental Health Authorities.


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