Managing Stress and Anxiety

News updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) are happening all day and every day. All you need to do is turn on your TV or connect to your preferred social channel, and you’ll learn the latest on the situation impacting our world.

The news can become overwhelming – causing stress, fear, and anxiety in these uncertain times. These feelings can escalate quickly if not effectively managed, according to Celina Gonzalez, a behavioral health counselor at Methodist Healthcare Ministries.

She said as more individuals are also having to make home their new work sites – juggling work and family at the same time can lead to an increase in stress.

“It’s important to learn how to cope, especially if you’re working from home surrounded by family staying with you,” said Gonzalez. “People start to worry about the future and start to become fearful and anxious. There are things that we can all do to help us manage these emotions.”

Gonzalez has put together a list of tips that can help individuals and families manage stress and anxiety, while at home. The list includes the following:

  • Self-Care
    • Go for daily walks and don’t forget to take deep breaths along the way (remember to practice social distancing during your walks). Take your furry friend with you, if you can.
    • Get plenty of sleep (at least eight hours).
    • Commit to praying/meditating at least 10 minutes during your day. Daily devotionals are always helpful.
    • Listen to soothing music during short breaks throughout your day.
    • Don’t skip meals – choose healthy options for meals and snacks.
    • Keep a journal of your day-to-day tasks and/or prayers.
    • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
    • Protect your health and the health of your loved ones by staying home.
    • Dance with your kids and other family members to help stay positive! Get out those fun tunes and start moving. This is also great exercise!
    • Catch up on reading. If you have a book you’ve been trying to read, now is a good time to start.
    • Start a new hobby. Watch stories on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube for fun tutorials and ideas.
    • Create a movie night with your family. Make a list of the movies you’d like to watch together!
    • Limit your time on social media. Also, try following only positive and encouraging social channels, as well as credible news sources.
  • Stay Connected with Others
    • Use technology to stay connected with loved ones – FaceTime, email, a quick phone call, or consider brief chats through communication platforms with friends and family living away from you.
    • Write notes or letters of encouragement to friends, family, neighbors or church family.
    • Share fun online games or pull-out board games, if you have them around the house – practice social distancing.
    • Create an online photo album
    • Share tasty and fun recipes with each other. Maybe start videotaping some cooking demos of your favorite meals and share with others on social media.
    • Do some spring cleaning around the house and save for donating later to those in need of clothing and/or household items.

Gonzalez said you can successfully manage your thoughts and actions by practicing a variety of healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety. She says you can be as creative as you want in making your surroundings positive and calming, as we work together as a community through this challenging season.

“Taking good care of yourself means you will be able to better care for those you love and cherish,” she added. “Make time for yourself, as we all take one day at a time.”

Celina Gonzalez serves as a behavioral health counselor at Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Dixon Health & Wellness Center in San Antonio.

Stay informed by visiting our COVID-19 Information Hub for important updates, resources, and support.