6 Ways to Manage Anxiety during Social Distancing

This outbreak is stressful for everyone. It’s a frightening time, and that makes it easy for people experience anything between mild anxiety to severe panic. We worry about everything: our health, loved ones, food supply, income, job security, and how long this will last. Our mode has turned from ‘living’ to ‘surviving’, and having to stay at home for days on end does not help.

It’s okay to not be okay. However, if you find that you are overwhelmed to the point that it is affecting your daily life, here are a few ways on how you can manage your anxiety levels while you are practising social distancing.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing depression or a mental health crisis, please:
Seek professional help
Call Befrienders at 03-7956 8145
– Call Mercy Malaysia’s Psychosocial First Aid Hotline at 03-29359935 (Operating Hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM daily)

1. Take a break from social media

Now that we are spending more time at home, we tend to scroll through the news and social media a lot more. While staying updated is important, information overload can cause one to spiral and worsen anxiety.

Select only a few credible websites to check each day, and limit that time to about 30 minutes for up to 2 sessions. Where possible, keep it to a minimum and free up your time to do other things.

2. Maintain a routine

Uncertainty can be distressing, especially when you are suddenly taken out of your normal routine. Where once you would go to the cinema, have brunch on Sunday and hit the gym in the evening, now everyone is cooped up indoors, and that can be frustrating.

Woman checking the calendar

Adapt your daily routine to one that works for you: wake up and sleep at the same time, enjoy a morning cuppa, have lunch, work, do laundry, exercise and complete tasks as you would on a normal day. That way, you can easily adjust when this is over.

3. Keep up with social connections

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, humans are social creatures, and we need to connect with others. Use Skype, Zoom, Facebook Call, or Whatsapp Call to arrange an e-coffee break with loved ones. They are probably waiting for someone to talk to too!

Cheerful young Asian woman sitting on the floor and video calling her friends or relatives

Share your feelings with them, and hear them out. Social distancing does not need to be isolating. Trust that distance would not keep you and your loved ones apart.

4. Meditate with art therapy

Creating art has been known to help individuals process their thoughts and feelings. It lets you take your mind off things, and tap into a meditative flow, which can help to reduce stress.

You don’t need to be good at art to get into it, just give yourself freedom to express yourself. Draw a picture. Paint a bit each day. Colour in those adult colouring books. Keep a dairy or gratitude journal. Make cards. The process itself is relaxing, and you might just get a masterpiece out of it.

Related: 7 Crafty Workshops Art Lovers Will Freak Out Over in Klang Valley

5. Exercise and keep moving

Not being about to go to the park or the gym is a bummer, but if you spend all your time home sitting, it would leave you feeling down and sluggish.

Exercising helps your body releases endorphins, while reducing stress hormones. Take care of your body by getting enough exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, be it pilates, yoga, stretching exercises, cardio or weights.

Find time to walk around your house, or work it into your routine. You can do squats while watching your favourite show, jog in place with high knees, or walk up and down the stairs. What makes a difference is that you keep moving. If you are handling a lot of equipment, remember to wash your hands afterwards!

6. Keep calm and plan ahead

Finally, just because life seems like a standstill now doesn’t mean it will always be this way. Plan out the places you would go, food you would eat and things you would do once this is over. Perhaps being at home for so long would let you appreciate the things you once took for granted.

Think ahead and list them out. Look forward to brighter days. We’ll all come out from this one day.

Not everyone experiences anxiety the same way. If you, or someone you know, suffer from depression or severe anxiety, please:
Seek professional help
Call Befrienders at 03-7956 8145
– Call Mercy Malaysia’s Psychosocial First Aid Hotline at 03-29359935 (Operating Hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM daily)

Support Locals During Better Times

If you live in Malaysia, you might find that you miss what’s out in your backyard even more. For ideas on what to do and activities in Malaysia, visit the LokaLocal website.

LokaLocal is a platform that connects people to activities, tours and workshops hosted by locals. By doing so, they get to share their culture and hometowns, while you get to experience trips of a lifetime.

While everyone is being affected by this global crisis, we are looking ahead towards better times. For now, please #stayathome and staysafe. When times are better, remember to support the local community once more!

Check out local experiences on LokaLocal.

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