Anxiety and Social Distancing

Overnight it seems like our like our lives became something out of a sci-fi movie. As someone who suffers from bouts of anxiety, I can easily start panicking in our new reality.

A few months ago, I realized that between my office job and a new marriage, I wasn't doing the things that once made me happy. I was staying at home with my husband instead of going out and exploring. Additionally, years ago, I had lost my drive and my purpose at work and I was just going through the motions. Working in an office was a way to regulate my days, but nothing more. Life wasn't giving me any joy.

So the irony of this new reality is when I lost my job earlier this year (more on that in a later blog) I resolved to start anew and start doing things that were important to me. I wanted to focus on Compete2Beat and make it the success I dreamed of. I started a bucket list to accomplish little things like spending a few hours at the beach to the more time consuming - visit a Scandinavian country! Fast forward to now...well it's not likely that I will be traveling for a while!

When it was clear that the coronavirus was going to change our lives, I spent quite a few days feeling sorry for myself, taking long naps, adjusting to personal changes as well as the pandemic ones. For me, anxiety feels like claustrophobia. I become trapped in my mind and can't get out. It's a double whammy because I am trapped literally and figuratively! Along with it, comes insomnia, depression and lack of purpose.

My anxiety feeds on itself, so a seed of anxiety is likely to grow into an entire field, if I don't put the breaks on it and establish an "anti-anxiety protocol."

First, it's taken me some years to realize that I am a person who needs structure so it helps to have schedule and a routine. Without one, I tend to flail, waste time and then feel unproductive and guilty that I have wasted time, which makes me panic. Working at home and being a new entrepreneur makes this even more important. I'm likely to start cleaning as a distraction to working or watch my latest shows on Hulu or take long naps. A few days ago, I created a schedule that includes exercise (online classes, walks), work (includes Compete2Beat, online Udemy classes, and Rosetta Stone Italian) and meal prep/dining. It's a work in progress and not set in stone - but it gives me direction on how to approach my day.

A second change is that I am a social animal and always enjoy meeting up with friends for drinks and dining. My friends are important and have always provided comfort, advice, a distraction, and a moral compass that helps guide me through life. Without the personal interaction, I feel a bit lost and frankly, bored. Today for the first time I tried video chatting with one of my closest friends. It wasn't the same as sitting next to her at a restaurant and catching up, but it did help me feel connected. She is single and to get through her days of isolation, tries to do at least two video chats with friends a day. It gave me inspiration and I'm going to try the two chats a day AND organize a virtual Happy Hour with a group of friends! Hurray!

Another thing I will be doing is to start accomplishing projects around the house. Clearing out that junk drawer, getting rid of stuff I don't need, scrubbing the grime off the kitchen cabinets. It's important for me to make a to do list and cross off items as I get through them. Doing things, accomplishing daily goals, being busy and preoccupied - these are all things that help me manage my anxiety. One way or another we all are going to have to work through the emotional impact of social distancing. I don't know anyone who doesn't yearn for some type of human interaction. We are lucky to live in a time where technology does offer us alternatives to personal IRL interaction. It might be trite to say, but exercise and eating well is important. Whatever your schedule is, make sure you are setting aside time to stretch and do some cardio and make healthy meals. And of course - it goes without saying - download the Compete2Beat app for free and enjoy the virtual support and competition from your team to reach your weight loss goals.

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