By Sarah Strickland
Even though many businesses are reopening, the fear of COVID-19 is still very real. Plenty of individuals and families have made the choice to stay at home, even though many of us have the option of going out to restaurants, bars, and shops. With so much uncertainty in the world, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the events currently going on. I find myself struggling with anxiety on a daily basis and have done some of the following things to help manage it, especially when I’m stuck at home.
Try and Stick to A Structured Routine
A daily routine is going to look much different during a pandemic than it would as a normal day of work, school, etc. It has helped me to wake up, eat meals, and exercise at the same time every day. Day-to-day I change all of the in-between activities according to my schedule, but I try to remain consistent in those three things. Doing this has made me feel more balanced and regulated which seems to take away some of my stress.
Decrease Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, and many studies have shown that caffeine can trigger anxiety and make it significantly worse. If you are a big coffee drinker like me, cutting out caffeine sounds impossible. There are alternatives to coffee, such as green tea, that hold a much lower caffeine content but still give you the boost that we all sometimes need in the mornings.
Take More Walks
If you are sick of walking in your neighborhood, there are plenty of parks and walking trails in The Beaches area to try out! A personal favorite of mine is Hanna Park, which is located near Mayport. They offer hiking trails near the beach that are relatively spread out from other people. Another place to try out is the University of North Florida Walking Trails. These places and many others offer a nice change of scenery to destress.
Adopt a Pet
If you have been waiting for the right time to adopt, what better time to do it than when you’re stuck at home? Having a companion during these times can be helpful to alleviate some of the stress of being alone more than usual. There are plenty of great animal rescues in North Florida, Jax Animals can help you find the perfect rescue for you.
Pick up a New Hobby
Many of the craft stores in the Jacksonville area are open now, including PV Arts & Crafts in the Winn Dixie shopping center. Michael’s and Hobby Lobby offer curbside pickup. Whether it is sewing, painting, or knitting, crafting can be a great way to take your mind off of things.
Put Your Phone Down!
There are so many items online that can be a stressor in times like these. Separate a small time of the day to update yourself on current events, but try not to obsess over the things you can’t change. By putting your phone down and tuning into matters that are important in your life, it allows time to clear your mind and find other things to focus on.
Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but these are some of the things that have helped me to cope with the major changes life has thrown our way. If you are ever feeling too overwhelmed and need to reach out to someone, there are resources such as TeleHealth that allow you to speak to doctors and specialists over the phone. Mental health is extremely important, and doing what you can to stay balanced will hopefully help in the long run.
About the Author: Sarah Stickland is a rising junior at the University of Georgia. This summer, in addition to working at Palm Valley Fish Camp, Sarah is interning for The Volen Group.