Tatiana asked one of her fellow counselors to share with us an article regarding coping with anxiety during the Coronavirus. Neitcha Thomsen is an LCSW and certified in treating anxiety. She sees clients in both their Dunwoody and Alpharetta locations.
Stress is a reaction to something happening now. Stress can cause anxiety which is a reaction to what might happen in the future. Many individuals may be experiencing anxiety over the “what ifs” right now. The funny thing about anxiety and our brain is when we begin to worry about the “what ifs,” our body experiences it as if it were happening now. This in turn can activate the release of cortisol and adrenaline which can lead to some of the following physical symptoms:
- Upset stomach
- Inability to concentrate
Anxiety can be tricky. It wants to be reassured that everything is OK. Some of us might turn to social media or news reports in order to try to get more information about the Coronavirus situation. When our brain thinks about the situation it can respond as if the event were happening in the present. This leads to the release of cortisol and adrenaline into our body. Instead of feeling less anxious we become more anxious. The good news is there are ways to practice some good self-care and even teach our children some coping tools.
- Maintain a hopeful outlook on life
- Keep things in perspective
- Get plenty of sleep
- Nurture a positive view of yourself and your abilities
- Engage in pleasurable activities
- Limit time viewing social media. Set a time during the day and then a timer to limit viewing
- Build your social support network
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
These are just a few things you can do. Pull out those board games to play with the kids. Pick up that book you have been meaning to read. Go out in the back yard and blow some bubbles and focus on them floating away. Keep your normal wake and sleep schedule. Spend time with your pets. Have a Harry Potter movie marathon. Create a coping jar with your children by writing some of the things you can do that are healthy. Write them on slips of paper and place them in the jar. Have one person pull out a slip and engage in the written activity. Below are some additional free online resources to try:
- TanZen Free – Relaxing tangram puzzles
- Booster Buddy
A quote that I love is, “Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which ones to surf.” -Jonathan Martensson. When you find yourself feeling anxiety, take a moment, breathe and then choose to engage in one of the above self-care activities.
Neitcha Thomsen, MSW, LCSW, CCATP
Atlanta Specialized Care