Your 2020 Guide to Managing Current Stresses and Anxieties

For Families, For Teens

While living in a stressful time, it’s essential to take care of our mental health.

Anxiety is idiosyncratic, making it pretty much impossible to pinpoint a “kind” that is most common.

For some of us, it might feel like we’re out of breath or choking. For others, it might be like a dark and foreboding rain cloud waiting to erupt into a storm.

You might cope with anxiety by punching bags at the gym or swimming laps in the pool. Maybe you feel better after brunch with the girls or at parties with all your friends.

Whatever your brand of anxiety might be the current pandemic can’t be helping.

The closure of gyms and public facilities, the cancelling of large gatherings and obsessive handwashing have now become the mandatory normal.

We’re living in a time of global uncertainty and no matter where you are, it’s likely that COVID-19 has upended some aspect of your life.

It’s challenging to maintain perspective among such radical uncertainty and the doom-and-gloom state of the world.

Still, there are a few things you can do find some peace.


Shut out the doomsday merchants. 


Unfollow or mute any members of Apocalypse Now. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

Anybody posting coronavirus statistics from around the globe, anybody criticising the Australian Government’s measures of precaution and anyone suggesting this is it, this is the end.

Say goodbye to these people in your life, for now, or forever.


Stay informed but take breaks from the news.


There’s no reason to not keep up to date with the latest press conference from our Premier or Prime Minister, but don’t have the news on 24/7.

Give it a break.


Take your mind off things by doing something you love.


Yes, this can be tricky given all the restrictions, but it’s pretty clear Netflix is still allowed.

Get into a doco or series to keep your mind occupied.

If you’re old school like me and you like reading, get back into it. Read that book you told yourself you’d finish last year but never did.

If there’s ever a time, it’s now.


Keep active.


This doesn’t have to mean starting the newest booty building guide, or maybe it does. Either way, just get moving.

Go for a walk, or a run, do a headstand. Start stretching. Do yoga.

It’s times like these where we can really be grateful for our dearest friend YouTube.

One of my favourite channels is Yoga by Kassandra which has heaps of good yoga videos with or without props from beginner to advanced.


Phone your friends and family.


Make sure you’re checking in on your friends you haven’t heard from, or the ones that you have.

Start a family group text or send a meme to a friend.

It’s important to remain connected, which is pretty much impossible if you have a phone.


Focus on what is in your control.


Some things we can control include how kind we are to others and ourselves, how personally we take things or our priorities.

Who we talk about, what we talk about, our level of effort, and how often we smile and laugh.


Practice mindfulness through journaling or meditating. Or both.


It can be hard to meditate if you’re a beginner but there are some nifty apps available or videos online that can help you out.

If you’re after a simple breathing exercise to calm you down, inhale for six seconds, hold for six seconds and exhale for six seconds. You can gradually build this up as you get better control over your breath.

If you’re into journaling, get pen to paper! Sometimes writing about our thoughts and feelings can be all we need.

If you’re ever short for someone to talk to, a diary is an excellent place to start. It won’t judge either. Some of my favourite mindfulness apps are HeadSpace, Calm and Aura. Give them a go.


Stick to a routine.


It doesn’t matter that you might be working or studying from home or even on holidays.

Your routine isn’t always about being productive, but it is about setting new habits.

Set your alarm for the same time on weekdays, and allow yourself a weekend sleep in. You deserve it.

If you’re the type to snooze your alarm and go back to sleep, I would suggest putting your alarm out of arms reach so you physically have to get up to turn it off. Once you get over that first sluggish roll out of bed nothing can stop you!


The new normal will take some time, but you’re not alone in thinking this. Everybody will be affected some way or another, focus on yourself, what you can control, and the rest is just background noise.

Written by Nicky Bonin from The Big Sister Experience