For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is probably one of the most intense, anxiety-provoking, intimidating and shocking situations that we have ever experienced. Because, let’s face it, this is scary. As we are instructed to “shelter in place” within our homes, our children’s schools are closed until further notice and the media is constantly alerting us to the death tolls rising daily, our lives have essentially been turned upside down. We never thought we would see empty streets, or an indefinite pause on life as we know it. However, as much as we all might want to panic, it is more important than ever that we KEEP CALM. So, here are a few tips to reduce anxiety and stay as serene as possible! 


Stick to a schedule


As we are all quarantined at home, it may sound nice to sleep in everyday, binge watching Netflix to pass the time. While occasional breaks are necessary for us all, not remaining on a schedule is what health professionals advise AGAINST. According to recent studies done, there is a science behind the connection between routines and anxiety. Findings indicate that when we organize ourselves and know what to expect, it is easier for our brains to counteract negative anxiety-provoking thoughts. Staying on a healthy schedule will help keep out the negative thoughts, as well as providing balance to our days spent at home! 


Exercise


Yes, gyms are closed due to COVID-19, but that does NOT mean that we have to or should stop working out! According to recent research conducted at the Mayo Clinic, depression and anxiety symptoms often improve with exercise, while improving overall moods as well. While it may seem more difficult to work out and stay active during this world-wide pandemic, there are ways to stay motivated! For example, Peloton is offering FREE 90-day at home cycling, running, meditation, yoga, strength training, stretching and bodyweight cardio online-class subscriptions. Also, outdoor hikes are a GREAT way to stay active, while reducing anxiety and promoting CALM. 


Eat healthy, stay hydrated and get enough sleep


Staying balanced is a key component to staying calm. Written in the popular novel, “The Anti-Anxiety Diet: A Whole Body Program To Stop Racing Thoughts, Banish Worry, and Live Panic-Free,” authored by nutritionist Ali Miller Healthy, “Healthy bodies make for healthy minds.” While we are all confined to our homes, it is SO important to remember to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. And, although it may be more difficult than usual to get a good night's sleep, it is also more important than ever, in an attempt to keep ourselves calm. In a study published, it was found that interrupted sleep cycles minifest anxiety. So, let’s keep it simple, and make sure we are eating and sleeping well, and staying hydrated. 


Do yoga 


Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, with over 100 different forms, for a full mind-body workout. From peaceful hatha yoga to high-intensity power yoga, this soul exercise helps you to relax and focus, improve your mood and gain flexibility and strength. Anyone can participate in this practice, no matter what age,  level of expertise or current  condition. All it takes is a yoga mat to enter this calm provoking headspace. Currently, Do Yoga With Me has made their meditation and yoga wellness videos available online, for anyone to enjoy for FREE. While you are at home, try something new, that just might change YOU. 


Remember to BREATHE 


Most of all, during this time, it is so important for us all to remember to BREATHE. Like anything in life, “this too shall pass.” For now, all we can do is take deep breaths, take this stressful situation in stride, help others when we can and to follow the rules put in place for us to follow- most importantly STAYING HOME, to protect the health and safety of ourselves and others. We will make it through this TOGETHER, let’s all do our best to stay calm in the meantime.