Mental Health

7 easy tips to reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus

reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Everyone is already aware that in December 2019, a virus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan for which people have not developed immunity and for which no vaccine exists to date. This virus, called COVID-19 or coronavirus, is highly contagious so that anyone who can better stays at home until further notice.

So far, these guidelines are theoretically quite clear, but what about our mental health when we stay at home for so long? Is there anything we can do to maintain some normality and feel good? It goes without saying that we feel more anxious than usual. But can we also do something to channel this fear and anxiety? Yes, we can. We will show you how to reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus.

Of course, this can be done without taking anti-anxiety drugs. We will briefly explain how this works.

Reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus

7 Easy Tips

1. Install a routine

coronavirus anxiety routine
A survey during the first week of the lockdown in Italy already found that 93% of those surveyed experienced anxiety

First and foremost, it is essential to install a daily routine like you would on a weekday. You schedule a certain hour to get up. You wash and get ready as if you were going to work. You take your breakfast and prepare a to-do list. Of course, also take breaks and plan free time. We are going to talk about this in a moment. At the end of the day, you should schedule an hour to go to sleep that allows you to get up early and still sleep eight hours.

Why is this routine so important to feel good? Easy. You don’t want to disturb your Circadian rhythm that regulates your organism in periods of about 24 hours.

Respect your biological clock so that your sleep-wake rhythm is not disturbed, and you can go through the day, rested, and full of energy.

2. Watch your diet

coronavirus anxiety diet

It is also vital for your emotional well-being that you keep an eye on your diet. So, of course, staying at home is no excuse to become a couch potato and watch soaps all day long with an XL pack of chips and a large glass of wine. If you started doing this regularly, you would certainly not feel better. So we are definitely not going to do that!

To start with, avoid refined sugar, source of empty calories. Refined sugar is better known as white sugar that you find in the form of cubes, in sweets, in soft drinks, in cookies, etc. I don’t say to avoid eating refined sugar because it makes you fat. That is not the main problem here. Refined sugar has a much more harmful side-effect because it increases the production of the neurotransmitter adrenaline, which happens to be one of the three stress hormones. Besides, it also makes your adrenal glands run wild. The bad thing about this is that the adrenal glands are responsible for regulating the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a second of the three stress hormones. So think twice before opening a bag of candy or taking a piece of pie out of the fridge.

If you think the problem is solved because you bought the light version of your favorite dessert, then you have thought wrong. Light products are also just junk food. They contain aspartame, which is a carcinogenic and neurotoxic sweetener. Aspartame can give you nausea, malaise, and diarrhea. I am not convinced that this will make the time you have to spend at home more pleasant.

Attention, most chewing gum, also contains aspartame!

Do you prefer chips, pizza, Chinese dishes, broth soups, noodles, or other processed food because it is fast and easy? False reasoning. All of these dishes contain monosodium glutamate or MSG, which is a neurotoxic aroma. MSG is known for causing nausea and anxiety. Note that if you cook yourself and you season your dishes with bouillon cubes, you are also consuming MSG.

I would like to mention that it goes without saying that it is not recommended to drink large amounts of coffee, Coke, or alcohol. The reasons are quite clear the caffeine intake itself increases your cortisol and adrenaline levels. A large intake of caffeine also increases your norepinephrine so that you will have to deal with an increased level of the three stress hormones and therefore feel very anxious. Large consumption of alcohol will cause the cortisol level to peak the next day, which will make you feel uncomfortable.

We are gradually noticing that a large part of our well-being will take place in the kitchen. Indeed, healthy eating is of great importance to our general well-being. First of all, we will try to absorb enough tryptophan in our organism. This list of food contains a healthy dose of tryptophan: oats, lentils, chickpeas, cassava, sweet potatoes, brown rice, spinach, lettuce, avocado, pineapple, blueberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, banana, chili, eggs, chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, sardines, shrimp, crab, crab spider, nuts, almonds, fish, seeds, soy, milk, yogurt, dark chocolate, and cheese. Look at what a wonderful list! It even includes comfort food such as dark chocolate, nuts, strawberries, or cheese.

Why is tryptophan so crucial to our well-being? Because the body needs tryptophan to produce serotonin, which is also known as the hormone of happiness.

Do you want to do it even better? Then choose foods that, in addition to their healthy dose of tryptophan, are natural sedatives such as oats, lettuce, spinach, avocado, salmon, tuna, seeds, almonds, and nuts. So, in addition to feeling happier, you will also feel more relaxed.

Also, eat enough proteins. You do this by eating chicken, eggs, veal, fish, nuts, almonds, lentils, chickpeas, beans, spinach, mushrooms, soy, and drinking milk. An adequate level of proteins in your body promotes the production of dopamine, the love hormone. As a result, you will automatically feel signs of well-being, pleasure, and satisfaction.

To conclude this point, I would like to emphasize the importance of drinking enough water. Two liters a day is enough to keep your body hydrated. The importance of hydration is that the stress that the anxious feelings put on your body can cause dehydration and the unpleasant feelings that accompany it. Besides, water helps to remove toxins from the body.

3. Exercise daily in moderation

coronavirus anxiety exercise

Half an hour a day is enough to be concrete. It is, of course, not the purpose to tire out daily, which would also be bad for your immune system. But a healthy mind requires a healthy lifestyle, and that includes sports.

Of course, your house or apartment is not the ideal place to practice sports, but you still have the choice to pick up the exercise bike if you still have it somewhere. If not, I recommend bodyweight exercises or yoga. A quick look at the internet, and you have dozens of training programs from beginners to advanced.

It makes sense that practicing sports will help you eliminate the excess energy that builds up from sitting at home. At the same time, you will produce hormones that will make you feel good like endorphins, the anti-stress hormone, serotonin, the hormone of happiness and dopamine, the hormone of well-being. All these hormones are naturally produced by the body when you exercise!

If you have a garden or a balcony available, I would recommend doing your exercises outside because, after just 5 minutes of sunlight, your serotonin level will already rise.

4. Take time for yourself

take time anxiety coronavirus

Spending time on yourself is also very important. You do this by relaxing through meditation, reading, listening to pleasant music, or taking a warm bath. These relaxing activities will naturally increase your dopamine levels, which will create a pleasant feeling.

Several activities can increase your endorphin levels. This hormone is the natural equivalent of morphine, which is a natural pain reliever that will decrease your perception of pain and anxiety, increasing your sense of well-being. While stress and anxiety are a natural way to increase your endorphin levels, it will also increase the levels of other hormones, such as the stress hormones. Of course, we don’t want that. So how do you increase your endorphins without triggering the harmful hormones? There are several activities you can do to increase the level of endorphins in your body, such as exercising, meditating, listening to music, eating chocolate, spicy food, or making love.

I am sure that at least one of the above activities will please you to fill your free time.

5. Don’t become a hypochondriac

coronavirus anxiety hypochondriac

Obviously, COVID-19 is a dangerous virus, and the mortality rate is quite high compared to other diseases, but it is not intended that every time you sneeze, you start wondering if you are sick. We have to be realistic and keep in mind that if you sneeze or cough, for example, it is statistically more likely that you have contracted the flu or a cold. And if you are infected with the coronavirus, it is still the case that only a small percentage of the population develops a severe lung disease. That is why you mustn’t develop anticipatory fear. Being afraid of what might happen makes you worry about something that is unreal and can lead to a serious anxiety disorder, so be careful!

6. Limit your news consumption

coronavirus anxiety news overconsumption
Before the corona crisis, already more than half of Americans said that watching the news caused them stress, anxiety, or insomnia

In times of crisis, the news is a huge accumulation of numbers, statistics, predictions, and bad prospects. If you are too involved with the news, you will increase the levels of your stress hormones, cortisol adrenaline, and noradrenaline. This reaction makes sense because you are unconsciously giving your body a signal that it is in danger when it is not needed. It is much better to follow current events only once a day and to keep busy with the to-do list that you have made. This occupation will benefit your emotional health.

7. Keep the necessary social contacts, at a distance

social contact anxiety coronavirus

Although it is not recommended to visit people, do not forget that it is beneficial to your mood to spend quality time with the members of your family. Furthermore, it is essential to keep in touch with family and friends via Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat, etc. The reason for this is quite simple when you promote the feeling of togetherness within a group, and you feel good and safe with these people your brain decreases dopamine, your serotonin levels increase and oxytocin, the cuddly hormone, is produced. This makes you feel a wave of positive emotions.

Hopefully, you learned how to reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus.

If, after reading this article, you feel that you need professional help, read this article on online therapy.

Success, with a positive attitude, we will get through these difficult times together!

Alex Perez

Reduce anxiety in times of coronavirus
Infographic Coronavirus Anxiety

Coronavirus Information World Health Organization

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