I’ve been pretty silent for the last few weeks. It’s hard for me to put into words how our global pandemic has caused distress and flared anxiety in the majority of our population. I’ve been watching online and have seen shortages of toilet paper, hoarding of hand sanitizer and officers standing outside of grocery stores. It’s been one hell of a year this week.

Ontario has made decisions on travel restrictions, lockdowns and closures. We’ve been advised to stay at home for the next two weeks; they’re calling it “social distancing.” As an introvert, I can joke about this situation and mention that I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. In reality, my anxiety hasn’t flared as much as I thought it would. I do plan on staying home in a personal quarantine with my family, not in fear of contracting the COVID-19, but in fear of me potentially becoming a carrier to those who will not be able to fight it off.

I saw a disheartening photo the other day of an older woman doing her shopping with bare shelves. She looked confused, holding an empty bag, and all I could do was cry. We, as a collective, need to think of others in this situation instead of buying rolls of toilet paper that no human can even use within the calendar year. I understand that it can be hard to do when the media is projecting fear on us, but I know deep down that we’re better than this.

One thing that can help anyone with anxiety over what’s going on is to limit your news time. Even though we all want to keep up to date with what is going on, 24-hour-news is a compulsive outlet that will keep feeding on your anxiety. Try limiting your time or going on a mini-hiatus

The best thing to take my mind off of anything is to stay busy. I’ve decided to start my spring cleaning, but you can do it in any other way, like exercising, finishing off those craft projects, etc.

If you find yourself in a worrying state, don’t forget to breathe and practice grounding techniques. You can see examples online or within my blog – but I keep breathing exercises saved on my phone for moments like these.

Don’t google your symptoms. Dr. Google never helped anyone. If you DO feel flu-ish or short of breath, stay at home and call your doctor. They will let you know whether or not to obtain more critical care if needed.

And last but not least, don’t forget that your anxiety is not permanent. I know right now it feels like this will never end, but even in a crisis like this, we need to remember to keep things in perspective.

Breathing can be a challenge when you have anxiety.

When I become aware of my breath, I sometimes get a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I might be focusing too much on it. This can make my breathing irregular – which then makes me think “Am I breathing because I NEED to or because I’m focusing on it??” 

Yes, it’s possible to over-think breathing. 

How do I deal with it?

Sometimes I make sure to get moving. Going outside for fresh air is always key! However, there are days when just the thought of moving can be a struggle. In this case, I turn to breathing exercises like the one below

With the holidays right around the corner, don’t forget to breathe!