The stores are out of hand sanitizer and you’re stuck at home making your own (recipe here). Schools are shut down and you’re learning to waive from six feet away instead of shaking hands. You’ve got the physical side of prevention down, but what about the mental side? Here are seven tips from our therapist Mahala Motzny for staying sane during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stuck at home? We can host your visit by telemedicine during the pandemic.

  1. Take it one day at a time. Break it down to one minute at a time if needed. Anxiety has you fixed on three years from now… we aren’t there yet. Stay in the present moment. Focus on your breath, or on the sensation of your muscles as they contract and release. Remind yourself “This too shall pass.”
  2. Stay focused on a single reputable news source at the national and local level (the CDC, for example) and only look at those two. If you see things on social media, scroll past them or just stay off of social media all together.
  3. Avoid planning too far ahead. Things are moving quickly. Integrate information as it comes to you. Make decisions and take actions based on the information you have. More information will come, and when it does, do the same thing. Trust yourself and your ability to make good decisions.
  4. Set boundaries with anxious people and use some humor. Anxiety is contagious and it’s not made better by two anxious people talking about how anxious they are. Instead, talk about a way you can give back to people who are more vulnerable or isolated. Write a ‘thinking of you’ card to send to a local nursing home or search for safe, local options for helping people who need meals.
  5. Reframe this as a Pause. You aren’t going to fall behind. You won’t miss out on something that someone else is going to get to do. Being behind is relative to where everyone else is. We are all on a ‘pause’ right now.
  6. Use this pause to put your energy into a project that you never have the time to do. Look for something physical. The anxious mind rests better when we work with our hands. Paint your house, pull up weeds, take up running, crochet.
  7. Talk back to the voice in your head. You know, the one that yells “IT WILL BE LIKE THIS FOR-EVERRR!!” Tell it to shut up and leave you alone. You have stuff to do and you don’t have time for that nonsense. You’ve got projects to finish – that’s right – the stuff you never before had time to do.