Strategies to keep stress under control

1.Keep at safe distance from the news. Just as we keep our distance for Covid 19, it is also good to keep our distance from the news in order to reduce anxiety. Anxiety loves bad news, uncertainty, and catastrophic thoughts; bad news, which is what the media sells the most, is its perfect food. The more anxious you feel, the more you should stay away from the news, and if you are outright afraid, don’t even watch it and don’t go on google to search about the pandemic or the economy. If something important happens you will find out anyway.

2. Don’t worry,  take action. If you are worried about getting infected, about your business or not having a job, instead of letting negative thoughts invade you, use that energy to act. There is a big difference between worrying and solving problems. When negative thoughts and distressing questions pile up, say, “I’m not going to fall into the trap,” and get to work on creative strategies and solutions. Much of the anxiety is because we don’t trust our ability to cope. If you are facing problems that overwhelm you, seek help. Make a cost reduction strategy, look for discounts on your payments, offer discounts on your merchandise, review your expenses and make a savings program, etc. The goal is to stay afloat while the emergency passes.

3. Focus on the positive numbers. Keep a positive outlook. Despite the high rate of infections, most get mildly ill. The chances of getting seriously ill or dying are very low, but it does happen and in the face of that possibility, the mind loses perspective. The reality is that if we take care of ourselves, even when we are among the population at risk, the possibility of dying is very low

4. Don’t overreact to physical symptoms: having a cough or other flu-like symptoms doesn’t mean you have Covid. Avoid checking yourself all the time, it will greatly increase your anxiety.

5. Concentrate on being productive and find new ways to enjoy life. We cannot control the global or national crisis; But what we can control is the way we respond to the crisis. It is the perfect time to try new things. We have a lot of time on our hands to fix our house or garden, do new activities with YouTube tutorials, play board games with the family, walk or bike … focus on all these new achievements and special moments.

6. Do activities to reduce stress, such as practicing gratitude; you may keep a diary where you write down everything for which you feel grateful, such as the fact of being healthy, your family, your home. You can also do physical exercise like yoga; and relax the mind with meditation techniques.

7. Avoid falling into exaggerations with health recommendations, such as compulsive hand washing, or removing clothes when entering the house, exaggerated isolation … Follow the health recommendations of the health agency in your country.

8. Try to keep a sense of normalcy. As far as possible, keep your routines: instead of going to the gym, exercise in the street or at home, organize virtual meetings with your friends, share movies, look for religious services options online. That relative normalcy will prevent you from falling into anxiety.

9. Be kind to yourself and others and have faith. Take care of your loved ones, stay in contact with friends or family who have to be more isolated due to their age or physical condition. If the economy has not hit you so hard, help those who are in difficulties due to having to close, such as your hairdresser, the person who cleans your house, etc … If you are unemployed or had to close your business, you, your new job is staying afloat while all of this happens. Everything passes, always. Have faith, even if you don’t have all the answers.

10. Seek professional help: You are not alone. If you feel your anxiety is on the rise, seek help from a mental health professional. Many therapists are working online so it will be easy to make an appointment. At Medica Playa we have an excellent team of Psychiatry, Psychology and Therapy ready to assist you.

Article inspired in Ken Goodman in “Top Ten COVID-19 Anxiety Reduction Strategies” published in adaa.org