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MANAGING LIFE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Here are some tips for managing anxiety as well as new boundaries and roles while our society develops new ways of living to curb the spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Remember that anxiety makes us vulnerable to physical disease so please see what works for you to transform that energy into something beneficial. May these inspire you to come up with the best way of navigating through this crisis to the other side. Yours always in good health! Best wishes, Renu 

Managing Anxiety 

➢ Obtain the news from sources 

you can rely on to be calm and factual sites such as Arlington County’s web site: https://health.arlingtonva.us/co vid-19-coronavirus-updates/

➢ Use video—seeing someone increases the amount of oxytocin, the love hormone that protects us from the impact of stress. 

➢ Have meals or happy hours together via video as if you were in person. 

➢ Connect over social media 

with loved ones, but be careful not to overexpose yourself to those who are anxious as that could increase your negative feelings. 

➢ Don’t just connect one-on-one, 

keep up with your groups. Friend groups can convene virtually from multiple locations, meanwhile organized groups such as spiritual and religious organizations are conducting remote events and gatherings. 

➢ For example, if you realize 

some of your anxiety is related to the fear you haven’t lived a meaningful life, then figure out what that would look like and how you could make small changes toward realizing this. 

➢ If you feel the urge to make 

major changes now, it may be an impulsive reaction to the crisis. Do research, meditate, and talk to others so decisions are well thought out. 

➢ Many delivery services for 

groceries and restaurants are providing no-contact drop-offs. 

➢ Grocery stores have promised 

to stay open and the supply 

chain is being amped up so you will be able to obtain food. Are there any types of foods you would like to try? Recipes you’d like to make? 

➢ Is there a language you’ve 

always wanted to learn, a closet that really needs to be organized, or can you get ahead and finish taxes? 

➢ Our bodies need oxygen and 

movement. As one client said, he’s going to become “prison strong!” Yoga and other exercises can be done at home. Pranayama yoga simply involves breathwork. 

➢ Meditation, journaling, and 

praying are three key activities proven to reduce anxiety and alleviate boredom and loneliness. Add motivating (but reasonable) intentions to your day for an extra boost. 

➢ Listen and dance to music, 

sing, play board games, play video/Internet games with others. 

➢ Engage in online dating or 

make new friends. Most dating apps now have best friend matches. 

➢ Do comforting things. Take a 

hot bath, use essential oils or aromatherapy, hug yourself (put your arms across your chest and squeeze). 

➢ If you don’t have a bucket list, 

create one! Do you have regrets about not doing something or going somewhere? Research where you want to go and what you want to do once restrictions are lifted and it feels safe to travel outside your home. 

Working from Home 

➢ Consider how to prevent fur 

babies and others from interrupting. 

➢ Use devices such as noise- cancelling headphones. 

➢ What time will you rise and go 

to bed? Rest must come first, esp. if it has become impaired because a lack of sleep will provoke anxiety, increase physical stress, and depress the immune system. 

➢ What are your working hours? 

Working from home requires exceptional boundaries to 

retain a balanced life. Try not to work through meals or breaks. Consider having meals with colleagues or loved ones in-person or via video. 

➢ If possible, keep to your 

regular working hours as much as possible to feel the stability of your old routine. 

➢ Increase connection with colleagues 

and mentors 

➢ Don’t just rely on email, pick 

up the phone or go on video to connect. Consider creating a recurring virtual watercooler event since work-related calls might not provide that space. 

➢ Stay in tune with bosses/ supervisors 

➢ Discuss expectations for your 

work, including deliverables and hours given that life has changed for everyone. Are deadlines now more flexible? If you do not have as much work, can you relax or are you expected to fill in the time? Ask your organization for the information you need, knowing that things may continue to change. 

➢ Talk to your boss/supervisor 

about what you need to succeed with the change in circumstances such as access to resources. Don’t be afraid to say when something isn’t working—after all, most did not have much time to put their remote plans into place. 

Working at Home with Families & Roommates 

have never needed to understand one another on this level before now. Readjust assumptions esp. if you have been married for a long time. Work personas can show a different side. 

Especially for Partners 

➢ Intimacy is about authentic connection, not just sexual activities. Figure out what brings you closer and how much space you need space. 

➢ Try new things together such as White Tantra or using toys in your love play. 

➢ Discuss how you each cope 

with anxiety and how the other can help. Shelve major conflict conversations unless in a couples therapy session. 

➢ Find shared activities that can 

stimulate conversations with one another. 

▪ For example, if you’re Netflixing, check out the shows Cheer and Love is Blind. These are now part of our national culture! 

For Parents 

For Courage 

By John O’Donohue 

When the light around lessens And your thoughts darken until Your body feels fear turn Cold as a stone inside, 

When you find yourself bereft Of any belief in yourself And all you unknowingly Leaned on has fallen, 

When one voice commands Your whole heart, And it is raven dark, 

Steady yourself and see That it is your own thinking That darkens your world. 

Search and you will find A diamond-thought of light, 

Know that you are not alone, And that this darkness has purpose; Gradually it will school your eyes, To find the one gift your life requires Hidden within this night-corner. 

Invoke the learning Of every suffering You have suffered. 

Close your eyes. Gather all the kindling About your heart To create one spark That is all you need To nourish the flame That will cleanse the dark Of its weight of festered fear. 

A new confidence will come alive To urge you towards higher ground Where your imagination will learn to engage difficulty As its most rewarding threshold!

 

RENU K. ALDRICH, PHD, LMFT

Dodini Behavioral Health 703.909.5101, Ext. 114 • draldrich@dodini.com