How to Prevent Anxiety in the Time of Corona

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, April 08, 2020
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

I woke up this morning feeling much better than I did yesterday. I felt a new sense of relief and control. These feelings elude me frequently these days because of the uncertainty we are living with. What happened? What was different? Simply this: I decided to embrace and accept what is happening. I decided to accept my powerlessness over COVID-19 and it’s impact on our world. I also decided to stop watching the news. This is not to say that I don’t read my emails, but pictures and voices with a sense of urgency are quite another thing.

woman on a bed with books flying wild

I chose instead to take control of what I can: wake up, pray, and meditate.  These days I take advantage of the fact that I have a backyard that I can sit and have coffee and listen to nature. These are the ways that I know to slow my brain down. It works. It works for me and for many other people who are in the same situation. The only thing I can prevent is the unraveling of my mind.

Next, I eat a nice breakfast and take myself for a walk. There’s hardly anyone out there and the folks I do see cross the street to avoid me and politely wave.  When I get back I stretch, have another coffee, and look at my list of things to do for the day.  It is extensive and believe it or not, I do get quite a bit done this way.

On the days I have clients through Skype, it helps me even more. It reminds me of the normalcy that underlies this surreal existence. Also, helping someone else always makes my day. This is something anyone can do. You don’t need to be a therapist.

As I go through my day, I remember to take care of myself the same way I tell my clients. I use all the tools at my disposal (and there are many) to soothe myself if I feel anxious and it works. Let me leave you with this: I know this too shall pass. I know that I’m not in control of a lot but I am of some and on most days I’m grateful to be alive and to be safe in my home. This is definitely a one day at a time process.