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  • Writer's pictureMartha Witkowski

How to Stay Calm During a Pandemic

We are certainly living in a time of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Not to mention the social isolation a lot of us are under. This is your guide to staying calm amidst the chaos.

1. Get an online therapist

Online therapy has been researched thoroughly over the last several years. It has been shown to be just as effective as in-person therapy. This is great news now that most of us are required to engage in social distancing or in some cases, quarantines. Therapy is proven to reduce stress and anxiety- which are high for most of us during this time! We are here for you- schedule with us now!

2. Watch light-hearted movies

Some would say a downside to the age of technology is the constant stream of information we are subjected to. Pretty much every news source during this time has "live updates"- which can become an avenue for overwhelming obsession. Get the info you need and take a break! Watch funny videos, a light-hearted kids movie, or a favorite show to get back some sense of normalcy.

3. Start a new hobby.

Let's be real- most of us have a lot more time on our hands right now. Even if you are still working (from home), chances are not having a commute has freed up some time for you. Start that hobby you have always wanted to do! Learn something new. Learn something from a YouTube tutorial.

4. Get in the best shape of your life.

Most gyms are closed these days, but, that doesn't mean you can't bring your fitness to the living room! There are THOUSANDS of exercise videos online, and, you can even get creative with using different things for weight (food items, books, your children?!). Remember, physical movement is healing.

5. Finally start the mental health routine you should have ages ago.

Youtube is loaded with thousands of guided meditation and guided imagery videos. This is the time to get that routine started. Along with meditating, I highly recommend adding a yoga practice to your self-care routine! There is a lot to be said for the way we are able to move our emotional pain and stress through and out of our body. Remember, life is going to be one stress after the other (this just happens to be one massive, global stressor), so learning these skills now can help you for years to come.

6. Make a list of books to read, and get through one each week.

Don't limit this to nonfiction. Remember, you don't constantly have to be productive. Reading fiction books is a great way to reduce stress and exercise your brain muscles. It's also a great thing to do if you can't get to sleep at night.

7. Keep eating healthy, and, keep your meals on a schedule.

One of the most stressful things about life changing to a work-from-home routine, is feeling like you are no longer on a schedule., This leads to poor diet and eating habits, and, a general feeling of disorganization. To keep yourself on a semi-regular schedule, I suggest scheduling around meal times- this way you make sure to set time aside for nutritious meals. The grocery stores are still open- so please, continue eating healthy! This is a major area of mental health that most people look past. If all you eat is junk, you are certain to feel like junk!

7. Play with your pets and your kids

This one is pretty self explanatory. Now that most of us are home, we have more time to spend with our pets and our children. Think of this as one of the silver linings to this whole situation and have some fun! Get creative with games and playtime. And remember, if your kids are out of school, no one expects you to be a licensed teacher. Do your best. And, balance work, play, and connection. You might not get this chance again once life returns to normal.

7. Take online virtual tours

This is not only a good option for us adults, but, also for children who are bored, or, looking for something educational to do. Most museums, zoos, aquariums, historic sites, and even (my favorite) national parks- have online virtual tours. My favorite is Yosemite National Park. Check it out here: This is especially nice for those us who are quarantined an unable to access nature, which is normally emotionally healing for us.

8. Stay socially connected

This might be the most important one. Now that most of us are working from home, there is really no excuse for us not to reach out to others. Human beings are social beings. We don't do well without socializing- in fact, studies have shown that children literally stop growing (physically AND mentally) without enough social stimulation. The current times are hard enough on our mental health as is. The isolation involved in social distancing and quarantining is proving especially hard for those who suffer from anxiety or depression to begin with. During this time, please reach out to others- especially through audio messages or video chatting- and stay connected. Remember, we are all in this together.

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