Amy Aracena, MSW. Bilingual Therapist at Allies In Caring, Inc.
Proactive Strategies for Anxiety, Depression, and Loneliness
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
The year 2020 brought about challenges and into the lives of the entire world. For some, it brought forth opportunities. When we leave our homes, we must remember to wear a mask and maintain social distance. Our holidays and celebrations looked very different this past year than in previous years. Just as adults’ lives have been altered, parents should recognize that young people have lost out on milestones like proms, graduations, internships, and other educational opportunities.
Consider things that you have control over versus what you do not
Remember that we are human. Look at mistakes as an opportunity for growth versus a failure. Rather than viewing things with a fixed mindset, consider things from a growth mindset. Create positive affirmations to remind yourself daily of your strengths and how worthy you are. Although your mind can wander to worst-case scenarios, consider what will happen rather than what can happen. What is your principal worry? What would let you know that your fear will not come true? If what you worry about does not occur, what is more, likely to happen? Alternatively, if what you worry about does happen, what can you do to cope? Will you ultimately be okay? Reflect on how you feel about your worry after answering the questions (What Could Happen vs. What Will Happen, 2020).
Drink sufficient water and eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Exercise regularly and make efforts to set previous exercise goals. Limit your alcohol consumption. Many gyms offer virtual classes. One can find exercise videos on YouTube and social media platforms. You can even use the stairs of your home to exercise. Forgive yourself for the time you have gone without exercising or the few pounds you may have gained during this COVID era and get back into the swing of things. Take time to read a good book or enjoy other self-care activities like listening to music, dancing, yoga, bike rides, walks, or taking naps. Create a gratitude journal where you can list things you are grateful for daily.
Technology is your friend when it comes to seeing family members and friends or making new connections. Use Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp to see friends and family while speaking to them. Schedule a video conference to catch up with your family and friends. Send occasional texts to loved ones who may need cheering up. Social support groups offer possibilities to connect with others who may be experiencing similar situations and relate to you. A quick look on the internet will uncover a variety of support groups that that one can join.
Take at least five minutes daily, with the aid of a timer, to practice mindfulness. Slow down and pay attention to your breathing and your five senses at the moment. Try taking a deep breath through your nose and holding it for around five seconds. Release it through your mouth as if you are pushing your breath through a straw or blowing out a candle. Focus on your surroundings. What do you see in the distance? What do you see up close? What do you hear? What do you taste? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you feel your mind wandering, acknowledge it, and bring yourself back to the moment. You can look up some visualization exercises to assist you with guiding yourself somewhere you find relaxing. There are many mindfulness and meditation apps available to help reduce anxiety.
Engage in activities that nourish your spirituality
Do what brings you peace and purpose. Find ways to practice small acts of kindness. Although in-person fellowship may be on pause, you can find many church services of various faiths streamed online. Reach out to your spiritual advisor if you need to.