Covid-19 Coping Tips
1. With so much negativity in the media, can you think of something positive that has come out of this? Are you connecting with friends more, for example? Think of as many positive things as you can and perhaps write them down.
2. Make a routine scheduled social connection. You can have a reoccurring family dinner date on Tuesdays or do a workout with friends every weekday at 8am. This helps you get social interaction, creates predictability, and helps you feel a sense of control.
3. Think about all you have overcome in your life. Specifically, times when you were scared in your past. You got through them and are still here today. Remind yourself that you have gotten through challenges before, and you can get through them again.
4. Create a relaxing morning routine. A morning routine can increase your energy, productivity, and reduce anxiety. A lot of things feel out of control, but we can control what we do in the morning before facing the unpredictability of the day.
5. Get outside if you are able to. Get some sunshine, fresh air, and move your body. Sunlight and exercise increase endorphins. Endorphins boost pleasure.
6. You may find yourself with more time now. What goals do you want to set for yourself during this newfound time? What is something you were putting off because you didn’t have the time to do it? Make a list of goals you want to work toward.
7. Here is an exercise that can help if you're having anxiety-filled thoughts. This video helps to create distance from your thoughts and to slow them down. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r1C8hwj5LXw.
8. Notice the difference between a helpful and unhelpful thought. Anxiety can be motivating, but it can also feel overwhelming. If you are worrying about something that you can’t control or can’t problem solve, ask yourself, “Is this a helpful worry?” Hint: If it involves the words “What if…" it tends to be an unhelpful or non-productive worry.
9. Schedule worry time. If you are worrying throughout the day, block 15 to 20 minutes each day to worry. Pick the same time and spot to do this. Set a timer and worry until it goes off. Then, if you worry after your worry block, just write it down and say to yourself something like, “I can worry about this tomorrow during my worry time, I don’t need to think about it now.” This article explains the technique more: https://healthypsych.com/psychology-tools-schedule-worry-time/.
10. I highly recommend the book The Power of Now.
Keep the room cool. Lower the temperature before going to bed.
Create a relaxing bed time ritual that tells your brain it is time to wind down and go to bed. You can try putting a blanket or socks in the dryer to cozy up with as it gets close to your bed time.
Keep your room dark and quite. You can do this with eye masks, black out curtains, noise machine applications ( I like the free white noise app), or ear plugs.
Avoid stimulating activities before bed time. For example, calling the family member that you tend to argue with
Turn the clock away from you. Clock watching tends to increase anxiety.
Mindful Eating Tips
Mindfulness is present-moment awareness and attention. It’s about slowing down and being more aware moment-to-moment, non-judgmentally. It involves being aware of thoughts, feelings, and your body. Practicing mindfulness has numerous benefits. To name a few, it can help you be less emotionally reactive, improve immune functioning, and reduce psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and anger).
Mindfulness also can improve eating behaviors. Below are 10 ideas to increase your mindfulness when eating. A lot of these ideas involve tips for slowing down. When we slow our eating, we are better able to know when we are hungry or full.
1. Pay 100% attention to what you are eating. Turn off all distractions, such as the computer and the TV. Try this for a meal and see how it feels different.
2. Take two deep breaths, in and out, before every meal. Focus on the air slowly filling your lungs. Remind yourself to stay present with a cue word (e.g., calm, focus, present).
3. After your first two bites, try to name every ingredient in your meal. This can serve as a reminder that you do before meals to cue you to stay present during the mealtime.
4. Put the utensils in your non-dominant hand when you eat. This helps you slow down.
5. Try chewing one bite at a time and not putting more food in your mouth until your mouth is empty.
6. Switch to chopsticks. Unless you're great at using chopsticks, this will cause you to eat slower.
7. Replace your spoons with baby spoons (I know it sounds silly, but it will absolutely cause you to slow down and better notice when you are full. Also, if you are eating something delicious it will allow you to savor the taste longer).
8. Listen to your body, not your plate. Listen to your body to see if you are hungry. Check in with your fullness and hunger throughout the meal.
9. If you have a thought like “screw it,” “I give up,” or “I will be good tomorrow” related to food, check in with what you are really needing in that moment. Ask yourself what you are feeling and what you are needing. Usually, it’s not food. See if you can give yourself what you are needing.
10. Set a timer for double the time you normally take to eat a meal and slowly eat until the timer goes off. As you eat, pay attention to how the food tastes and feels in your mouth. Pay attention to taste, smell, and texture. Pay attention to when you start feeling full and what that feeling is like.