With the increase of the accessibility of information, one of the positive outcomes has been the easy connection people have with other people who live with the same thoughts and emotions as each other. This sparked more of a conversation around the topic of mental health and there is now more understanding than ever before. It’s important to remember throughout all of this: you are not alone.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, around one in five people were reported to suffer from some sort of mental illness. The most common one was anxiety. Now, the cases of people screening for clinical anxiety increased 19 percent in early February and an additional 12 in early March. And while there is plenty of information on how social isolation and other bad news can affect people, there’s no use dwelling on the size of the mountain when trying to count its pebbles. So let’s focus on small but effective methods to get through it and find some sense of sanity.

Beige Bike stretch shorts by Girlfriend Collective

Exercise- As exhausting as it can be, exercising consistently eventually outweighs all the initial hardships that people start off with. Exercise decreases the stress hormones and helps you focus on something that isn’t your point of anxiety. While promoting a healthier lifestyle overall, exercise also has the additional benefit of releasing “feel good brain chemicals.”

Breathing- Of course, I do not mean breathing the way you’re doing right now. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, the kind that you have to think about doing, helps release tension throughout your body associated with stress. Focusing on breathing also helps lower your heart rate and lower blood pressure. It’s good to focus on breathing with some calming imagery will help build a positive coping mechanism for anxiety and stress and you can be more confident.

Sound Healing Breathwork by Almarie Venter

Yoga- It’s time you listened to those wellness magazines and go through with that dusty New Year’s resolution and start doing yoga regularly. Yoga combines the benefits of exercise and breathing by its nature. It’s deep meditation focuses on breathing well and it’s sometimes difficult positions keep the mind focused and disengaged from any stress. As an added bonus, yoga decreases the levels of cytokines in the body, which at high levels can cause inflammation.

While these tips can help somewhat, it’s important to know that they are no substitute for necessary talk therapy and medication. Remember to pause, reflect, and ask for help. There are multiple resources available during this crisis. And if you see someone finding these times particularly difficult, extend some help or encourage them to seek more resources. Sometimes, just that small gesture of added company helps make a difference.