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8. Stay Connected to Your Friends and Family
Keep in touch with your loved ones while maintaining social distancing, suggest Torous and Peck. “Texting and video chat options can reinforce ‘we are not in this alone,’” they say. And the conversations definitely don’t have to be centered around how you’re doing (although that can be helpful). Torous and Peck recommend discussing a book you both just read, or a show you’ve recently finished—yes, another excuse to talk about Love Is Blind. This will help establish a sense of normalcy.
9. Limit Your Social Media and News Intake
It’s important to stay up to date, but if you find yourself compulsively checking the news or scrolling through social media for new info, it’s time to set some boundaries. “Check the news over coffee in the morning, midday and early evening. Or just twice a day. Park your phone for periods of time, too,” say Torous and Peck. Firstein agrees that it’s important to limit exposure to the media and social media “it only stokes panic,” she explains. Create concrete rules and stick to them—have a family member hold you accountable, if you need to.
10. Write a Quick Gratitude List
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology asked participants to jot down a few sentences each week, focusing on specific topics. One group wrote about the things that they were grateful for that week, a second group wrote about the things that had displeased them and a third group wrote about things that had happened (neither positive or negative). After ten weeks, researchers found that those who had written about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives than the other two groups. Not only that, but they had also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor. So grab a notebook and try to jot down a few things that you’re thankful for each week. Hey, even no traffic on your daily commute is a win in our book.
11. Pull on a Weighted Blanket
This is the first anti-anxiety tool that comes to mind for Molly Giorgio, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in West Hartford, Connecticut. “Any kind of weighted blanket will really help you calm down,” she explains. “They give you that sense of being held, of almost being hugged,” adds Gin Love Thompson, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and relationship expert. Here are ten weighted blankets we recommend.
12. Adopt a Calming Mantra
“Loving mantras like ‘I am safe and loved’ that can be repeated over and over can drown out fears,” advises Satya Doyle Byock, MA, LPC, founder of Quarterlife. Pick one that feels reassuring to you like ‘all is well’ or ‘inhale calm, exhale worry’ and repeat it to yourself when you start to feel anxious. You can also write it down and hang it somewhere you’ll see it regularly for a little reminder.