Activities to Ease Anxiety

April 9, 2020

It’s no secret that stress and anxiety levels are soaring due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s important to realize this is part of the new normal, and there are many things you can do to help yourself and others cope. From finding small moments of gratitude and peace through your houseplants to seeking free or low-cost therapy online, we’ve put together a list of ideas and tips for easing anxiety and bolstering mental and emotional health.

Hallelujah for Houseplants!

HGTV reports that a houseful of plants not only purifies the air in your house but has a calming effect on your mood and stress levels. To celebrate these peaceful housemates, Denverite is sponsoring a “Houseplant of the Week” contest—why not enter yours? 

You’ve probably heard that your plants will be healthier if you talk to them, but what if you sing to them? Studies — from elite universities to the TV show MythBusters — have found that plants actually respond to music, according to an LA Times article. One thing’s for sure: singing to your plants will make you feel better!

It’s no surprise that music can alter your mood and relieve stress. If you’ve ever felt pumped up listening to your favorite rock anthem or been soothed and comforted by soft, classical tunes, then you know the power of music, It can influence thoughts, feelings and emotions. The psychological effects of music can be powerful and wide-ranging. Music therapy is an intervention sometimes utilized to promote emotional health, help patients cope with stress, and boost psychological well-being.

Journaling to Cope

Move those worries out of your head and onto paper! Journaling is a proven method to reduce stress and anxiety. If writing isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry—these journaling tips from Rustico will get you started.

Try different methods to find what works best for you. Free-writing is when you spend a solid 15 minutes writing about anything that comes to mind. Spelling and grammar go out the window, and your thoughts are free to flow. Gratitude journaling is when you list three to five things you are grateful for—followed by the reasons you are grateful. Happier Human even has a list of gratitude apps to get the thankfulness flowing!

Grab a Wellness App (or Two)

Turns out there’s a whole bunch of in-home wellness apps out there that can help ease anxiety. From exercise to meditation to yoga, Better Homes and Gardens offers a list of free apps and YouTube channels that will help guide you through these turbulent times.

A scary new disease is more than enough to raise our stress levels, but former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy suggests a more specific reason why this particular crisis may be causing anxiety: loneliness. Because we are being asked to isolate ourselves from others, he says we must be proactive in strengthening our social connections. Dr. Murthy suggests making a point to spend at least 15 minutes a day talking or writing to someone we love.

It’s also important to reach out now more than ever to those who might be truly alone. Colorado Public Radio has published a long list of new volunteer opportunities that will not only help you connect to others but will allow you to be a potential lifeline for someone who really needs to know THEY aren’t alone.

Disappointment, Anyone?

Go ahead and admit it—this pandemic has disrupted our lives in a big way. People have had to postpone vacations, weddings, graduations—which can bring on serious disappointment, followed by a giant wave of guilt for feeling disheartened in the first place — when there are people who have it far worse.

An article in Women’s Health Magazine assures us these are normal reactions to the situation at hand, and it’s important to acknowledge our feelings and then forgive ourselves. In fact, an extra dose of self-kindness is just what the doctor ordered!

Kids Are Feeling It, Too

Kids may seem oblivious to what’s going on, but as Denver Channel 4 reports, experts at the Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute in Aurora say that any disruption of normal routines can have a big impact on their mental health. According to the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas, routines and schedules provide kids with a sense of stability, security and structure that can keep boredom and frustration to a minimum. 

The experts agree that sticking to their usual schedule of getting up and going to bed is best, with meals at the same time — just as if they were still on a school schedule. Also important are ways to keep children active and able to burn off energy, so going for walks, creating obstacle courses at home, playing music and dance videos are all good for them — and us!

Tips to help children cope with the stress they may be experiencing include: talking with them about the coronavirus, limiting screen time (especially the news), showing gratitude and humor, and most importantly, maintaining the new routine.

Free or Low-Cost Therapy

Sometimes it’s a good idea to seek out the help of a licensed therapist or support group that’s run by a mental health professional. Women’s Health has put together a resource that can help you find free and low-cost therapy online.

Some of the options include finding help through your work’s employee assistance plan (EAP), where mental health counseling is often included. You can also talk to a therapist online or join a support group through Real, a mental healthcare platform that’s offering a month of their services free during the pandemic crisis.

Find Peace of Mind at Southshore

In these challenging times, home becomes an increasingly important place of safety, and comfort. Stay healthy—emotionally and mentally, as well as physically—wherever you are. The new homes at the family-friendly community of Southshore offer the location and amenities you will appreciate once things get back to normal. Check out the beautiful model homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes, and Toll Brothers, most have virtual tours, or you can schedule a private tour, as well! With ranch and two-story models available, new homes at Southshore are priced from the upper $400s to the $700s.