It’s impossible to move about your day without mention of the novel coronavirus, which has spread to all 50 states throughout the United States, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest count. With over 240,000 confirmed cases and more developing every day, someone in your own community may be affected — and even those far away from affected individuals could be feeling the telltale signs of anxiety as offices, schools, and public events have all closed for the foreseeable future.
If you’re struggling with disrupted sleep due to anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.
Following are my tips for ways people can sleep better as we try to adjust to the pandemic crisis.
Exercise your body: Stretch exercises are very helpful to take your mind away. Here are some examples.
While lying on your back, extend your shoulder out as is comfortable and lift your hand up as though you are trying to stop traffic. Then turn your arm and your hand backward, letting your little finger be your guide. Let your little finger land where roughly the No. 7 would be on a clock. Just extend your shoulder out as is comfortable and bring your fingers back as is comfortable.
While you lie on your back, bring your toes and the inner side of your foot inward to get a stretch on the side of the foot. These stretches for the side of your feet can be done lying on your side as well, as long as you have room to bring your floor feet down or inward. You also can use a pillow between your legs to raise your foot so you can bring your foot or feet down, or hang your feet over the edge. “This by itself, or in combination with other stretches, has a high chance to put you to sleep like a little baby,” Piller says.
One post in the Reddit/Covid19_support group asked if anyone else had trouble going grocery shopping for fear of being sick, with one user responding, “I’m not so worried I’ll get the virus, I think just seeing shelves empty or a ton of people buying it will stress me out.” Others replied with worries for workers who have been deemed “essential.” Many of the posts focus on a topic that concerns many people. What about our parents and grandparents? People are having to make the difficult decision to isolate from familyduring a period that you want to be with them more than ever. Luckily, on r/Covid19_support, members are not alone in this struggle.
Governments around the world have laid out varying instructions on how to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 which, for many people, has meant staying at home. But there’s been little direction on how to actually live through a pandemic. How does one reckon with quarantine life? What about those with mental health issues strained by isolation? How about the self-quarantining individuals who are navigating symptoms but are not in need of immediate hospitalization — who is speaking to them?
It is normal to feel anxious about being diagnosed with the virus. For your physical and mental health and well-being, you should come up with a coping plan to strengthen your resilience and reduce the impact of this stressful situation.; changing how you are thinking about what you are going through; or working on skills such as relaxation and mindfulness. Here is a resourcethat can help you to build your wellness plan.
Here are strategies that May be helpful tackling the problems you are facing:
Focus on what you can control. Maintain control over what you can. We often don’t need 100% control in life to survive. We have experienced many situations in our lives where we don’t have full control and we survive those as well. Look for what you can do instead of what you can’t. This will calm some worry.
Breathe. When we are stressed, sometimes our body can respond as if we are in danger, just like an alarm system. This means our breathing style changes so we are taking heavier, more rapid breaths and taking in more oxygen. This can create physical symptoms of anxiety which can prevent us from thinking calmly and logically. When we are mindful of this response and try to breathe more slowly and more calmly, by breathing from our nose and belly (diaphragmatic breathing), we can help turn off our alarm system, which allows us to think more clearly. This works well for children and adults and can be done as we move or as a part of a mindfulness exercise.
Limit access to social media, just to what is necessary. -wThough it is natural to want to continue to stay informed about updates related to the coronavirus, its spread, and what we should be doing in response, research shows that excessive consumption of this information and media can make us increasingly anxious. That increased anxiety can make us respond less effectively. Limit your access to the news and such information. This mean taking breaks, or setting a specific time to follow up on the information instead of always leaving it on.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Take care of your body.
Support your loved one. Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Consider connecting with loved ones by:
- Mailing letters or cards
- Text messages
- Video chat
- Social media
Help keep your loved ones safe.
- Know what medications your loved one is taking. Try to help them have a 4-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications. and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor other medical supplies(oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food(canned foods, dried beans, pasta) to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, and speak with facility administrators or staff over the phone. Ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Take care of your own emotional health. Caring for a loved one can take an emotional toll, especially during an outbreak like COVID-19. There are ways to support yourself.
Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit family or friends who are at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Use virtual communication to keep in touch to support your loved one and keep them safe.