5 Steps to Reduce Fears and Anxiety

With the lingering effects of the shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders that a global pandemic brought, mental health issues are at an all-time high, with more of us reporting symptoms and signs of anxiety and fear. According to a Healthline survey, 49% of respondents showed some signs of depression, ranging from mild to severe. Factors adding to an increase in anxiety, fear, and depression are the concern of contracting the COVID-19 virus, lack of schedule, too much sleep or too little sleep, loss of social interaction, and potentially loss of job and loved ones. 


The emotions we are feeling are related to a constant state of trauma. Ever since our world has been shifted upside down, our minds and body have been in a constant state of fight or flight. This is why many Americans are experiencing anxiety, fear, depression, and exhaustion. 


The CDC’s campaign, Be Kind to Your Mind, lists five tips to cope with stress during COVID-19: Pause. Take Breaks. Make Time. Reach Out. Seek Help. We have taken these five steps and provided you with more detailed, suggested actions using our personal experiences and expertise. 


5 Tips to Reduce and Cope with Stress

  1. Pause. If you start to feel overwhelmed or feel you need to take a break, stop and breathe. Take a few minutes to center yourself and your thoughts. Notice how you are feeling and recognize the thoughts you are experiencing. Acknowledge those thoughts, and then breathe the anxious thoughts out and breathe the new peaceful thoughts in. 
  2. Take Breaks. Take the necessary breaks you need away from stressful triggers and anything that may increase your anxiety, fear, and depression. Although social media is a great tool to keep you connected, the wide array of information and access to non-uplifting information can be overwhelming. 
  3. Make Time. Make time for sleep, exercise, and "you." According to, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function optimally. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a big impact on how your body functions during the day. Exercising is also key to your body functioning properly. Exercising regularly improves your energy levels, helps keep your memory sharper, and helps you sleep better. Exercise has also been shown to decrease depression. A study done by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. And on top of ALL the health benefits of exercise, it has also been shown to reduce the number of days you get sick by 40-50%.
  4. Reach Out. Never have we needed to be more connected with others than during this time of isolation. What a blessing it is that we have technology at our fingertips to keep us connected to those we love. Reach out to your friends and family regularly via text, calls, and video conference calls.
  5. Seek Help. If you can’t shake the feeling of being overwhelmed or feel unsafe, seek help. Set an appointment with your general practitioner, therapist, or counselor. If you are a person of faith, ask your faith leader or those in your faith circle who they would recommend. There are also a number of organizations that can help by providing support and resources.  


Taking these five steps may help reduce your fears and anxieties during the uncertainty of COVID-19 and any stressful times in your life. If you still feel like you just can't shake it, call your doctor for a treatment plan. Laughter works, too, so binge-watch some comedies to lighten the mood.