If you’re feeling unusually scattered, tired, and anxious lately, you’re not alone. The coronavirus pandemic is causing high levels of emotional distress for many people. Even if you’ve never suffered from anxiety, you may be experiencing symptoms such as insomnia, difficulty concentrating, or a loss of interest in your normal activities.
Aside from the obvious causes of anxiety — lost income, food insecurity, worrying about you or your family falling sick — there is another, less obvious factor at play: the state of being in constant survival mode.
“Typically, when our fight/flight/freeze response is triggered, we have a chance once the perceived threat has passed, to calm and return to baseline,” explains therapist and Community Health Public Policy Advocate Kara Werner. “But, this isn’t happening in the pandemic. We are constantly being inundated with uncertainty, potential economic instability, concern for the safety of our friends and loved ones, etc.”
Your nervous system can stay in that heightened state for only so long before you crash. So, even if you’re in good health and your finances are stable, it makes perfect sense that your nerves are frayed.
Practice Self-Care and Self-Compassion
First, understand that what you’re experiencing is normal and that it’s perfectly okay to adjust your expectations of personal productivity during this time.
If you aren’t able to check as many things off your list as usual or find yourself sleeping more, don’t stress about it. Go easy on yourself, and remember that this situation is only temporary.
It’s also important to practice self-care during this time. That may mean taking some time every day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Make meditation a part of your self-care routine — it’s been shown to help calm anxiety.
If you’re new to meditation, apps like Insight Timer or Headspace provide guided meditations — all you have to do is find a quiet location and press play.
Get Some Exercise
It may be difficult to get cardio in if you’re cooped up at home, but it’s still important to work some physical activity into every day. Exercise is a known mood booster, and it may also reduce your risk of disease.
Take a walk outside if you can — sunlight is also good for your mental health. Or, try some yoga videos at home. Even a gentle yoga practice before bed may help balance your mood and improve your sleep.
Try CBD products
CBD has become a popular anxiety aid in recent years. Regular use of CBD may help promote relaxation and better sleep. According to a survey by CBDistillery, people who take CBD prefer it over exercise and meditation as a way to combat the stress associated with COVID-19. It can actually help you doze off at night — 89% of people who take CBD reported getting better sleep when taking CBD.
CBD is available in a variety of products, including oils, softgels, gummies, and topical products such as creams and salves. It may take a little experimentation to find the best CBD products for your needs.
CBD tinctures, such as this Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture – 500mg ($35), are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and therefore tend to take effect more quickly. A tincture is a flexible delivery method and a great way to learn the right dosage for you
Edible products, such as softgels and gummies, must pass through the digestive system and take longer to work, but results may last longer. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try these CBD Nighttime Gummies ($55).
Also, be aware that CBD tends to work best after it’s had an opportunity to accumulate in your system, so don’t be surprised if you don’t notice an immediate difference the first time you take it. With regular use of CBD, it will become more effective. Using CBD for stress relief could become your new favorite wellbeing routine!
Seek Professional Help
If you’re overwhelmed by your anxiety and feel like you can’t manage on your own, talk to a therapist. Many therapy professionals are offering telehealth services during this time, so you can get the emotional support you need while still maintaining social distancing.