Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

Many of us are experiencing emotional distress from the pandemic which can affect each of us in different ways, but often presents as increasing anxiety, worry, sleep disruption, feelings of helplessness, panic, and/or depression.

The shrieking headlines don’t help do they? So what can we do to manage these feelings and feel stronger emotionally and psychologically as we prepare ourselves to face the difficult days ahead?

As a psychotherapist who has practiced for many decades, I have some ideas that can help. So if you are interested, read on.

We are going to make a customized anxiety toolbox. One approach doesn’t work for everyone, pick and choose what feels right for you. Of course I’m including relaxing photos intermixed in this post because looking at positive images is an objective and powerful anxiety reducer. What you perceive influences how you think and feel.

ANXIETY TOOLBOX:

Self Talk Reframing (Cognitive Therapy)

Guided Imagination/Visualization

Exposure Management

Progressive Relaxation

Distraction in Action

Self Soothing

Spiritual Meditation/Prayer

Second Voice

Exercise, Diet & Good Health Practices

This topic will be broken up into separate posts, and start with Self Talk, Guided Imagination and Exposure Limitation. These are the tools I use most frequently to manage my anxiety. Yes, I have anxiety, and now pandemic anxiety, and I don’t like any of it, so I have learned over the years to better manage all of it.

Self Talk is one of your most powerful anxiety busting tools. It can be best understood through the ABC Model:

A: is an objective event that occurs (Covid 19 for example).

B: is what you immediately and silently say to yourself, sometimes many times a day, about this event, usually without conscious awareness (“Oh no, we’re in a high risk group, we’re gonna die, badly,” is my example). Insert your personal pandemic negative self talk here.

C: are the feelings that immediately arise in response to our self talk (Anxiety, pandemic preoccupation, worry and/or panic)

In this case my self talk was awfulizing , which is the tendency to assume the worst possible outcomes will happen to me or the people I love. I can challenge and change this self talk by making it more realistic. An example for me might be, “Stop thinking the worst. Most high risk people survive. You can take steps to improve your chances.”

I use self talk reframing in combination with guided imagination everyday. These are two of my most trusty tools and they work synergistically with each other to reduce anxiety, each making the other more effective. Like any learned skill, the more you practice it, the better you get at it.

Guided imagination is exactly what it says it is. When you are resting, napping, or going to sleep, don’t let your imagination run you. You run your imagination. Guide it to a place, a story, a visualization, that engages your mind, and is positive, happy and fun. Challenge yourself to come up with imaginative stories that involve you. This is wonderful for your mental and physical health. Make yourself a central character in your story. I have ongoing stories that I return to everynight before I fall asleep. I come up with new stories when the old ones start to lose interest.

This kind of guided imagination reduces stress hormone levels, aids sleep and reduces anxiety. It can even positively influence, or guide, our dreams which is beneficial to our mental and physical health. It is harnessing the creative power of your brain to control its own production. Long term prison inmates report using this technique to escape their cells and fly free. If they can do this, so can you and I.

And finally, reduce your exposure to news. Yes, it is important to stay well informed and safe, especially in a pandemic. But constant media onslaught can be psychologically overwhelming and add to an unhealthy level of anxiety. So take charge of the news in your own best interest. Consciously limit your exposure according to your best choice about how much you can absorb without becoming overwhelmed. This is truly important in managing your anxiety during pandemic times, and really at all times.

Switch from the news after you’ve had enough to stay informed, and read blogs or a book. Watch a movie. Look for positive imagery. Write blogs and stories. After all, you are bloggers! You have awesome creative imaginations. Use your imaginations in positive ways to help you, and your readers, stay on even keel during the coming stressful days.

Cheers & calm to you from me at The Holler~

Note: Australian birds in order, New Holland Honey Eater, Gouldian Finch, Superb Fairy Wren.

437 thoughts on “Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~

  1. Dear Cindy,
    Thank you so much for this post. I know we all think differently, but one thing is true, we are concerned. All the best to you.
    Ranu

    • Yes. You got to the heart of the matter my friend and I thank you. We do think differently but this should not stop us from caring about each other. Love to you.

  2. Pingback: Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~ — (this is an amazingly beautiful post…don’t miss it) | Rethinking Life

  3. The photographs, as always, are fabulous, Cindy. But more importantly… this is such good, common-sense advice. I check the news once a day to stay informed… and then I don’t look again. I am in a high risk group and so are many of those I love. Worrying about ‘what if’ isn’t going to keep any of us safe, but practical measures to stay healthy, including getting enough sleep and minimising stress, will actually help.

  4. Thank you Cindy for sharing your thoughts, advice and concerns. I hope and pray this pandemic Coronavirus will be something than can better unite us in spirit, in faith and in prayer than something more that divides us. God richly bless you and yours. Be blessed, be safe and be well.

  5. Gorgeous photos (I kinda skipped the text because I don’t have any anxiety over the current health scare. I’m finding people’s stupidity amusing.)

  6. Just an additional update on my life to share: I have had some recent declining health issues with the ongoing loss of eye sight due to advancing AMD and being treated for that as my doctors try to preserve eyesight in my right eye as the left has lost much of its vision. Also I have Rheumatoid Arthritis developing in my hands which has been painful and hard to type, etc., so have not been able to do a lot of posting and writing with my blog lately . I will continue to follow yours and enjoy all your wonderful pictures and travels as much as possible. Take care.

  7. Beautiful post sweetie! I don’t watch the news which helps me! What is sad is the overall panic of people buying out everything in the store.

  8. Thank you, Cindy. So nice to hear some hopeful and reasonable words amongst all the doomsday stuff. I’ll do my part by posting pictures of my new foster kittens…kittens are always good for a little feel-good dose!

  9. Great advice. Beautiful photos. I’m one who doesn’t worry. I say take precautions, go on with life, and, like you, encourage people to remain calm, take precautions and go on with life. It’s sad the media has to sensationalize everything, and people in power have to politicize serious issues when everyone should work together to minimize risks. If the polarizing media and politicos would work with their perceived enemies, and encourage everyone to work together, people on all sides of the issues might discover that their enemies, and all the other people they find so undesirable are actually human beings, also. It’s really a sad state of affairs.

    • YES!!!
      “If the polarizing media and politicos would work with their perceived enemies, and encourage everyone to work together, people on all sides of the issues might discover that their enemies, and all the other people they find so undesirable are actually human beings…” We can see as this crisis unfolds how polarization harms each one of us. People working together, supporting each other, and respecting difference, is the only way to make something positive happen out of this crisis. Thank you so much for this Timothy. It is so important and so necessary. <3

  10. Thank you Cindy – so kind of you. 🙂 I am away from my country right now and although the country I am visiting has contained a very small outbreak, it’s the return home that’s bothering me – airports and aircraft (even though the airlines are really upping the cleaning protocols – including my own – people are people).

    • Yes. I can well understand how you feel. I had to fly during the epidemic too. It is an unnerving feeling. Take prudent precautions and hope for the best <3

  11. Wow! You’ve got a couple of photos of 2 of my favourite Australian birds – the New Holland Honeyeater and the male Superb Fairy-wren. Thanks for sharing.

    I rarely watch the news and never realised how quickly the coronavirus had spread.

    Surprisingly, I don’t feel in the least bit anxious, Cindy. I just assume life will go on as normal for me. If I catch it, I catch it (the virus). So I’ll think about that eventuality if and when it arrives. In the meantime, I’m staying home as usual and following the Health Department’s instructions.

    I’d hate to be in the shoes of people in danger of losing their jobs or failing to meet their financial commitments.

      • Thanks Cindy. I wasn’t always like this. It’s just that I’ve lost so much ‘normal’ life that most people take for granted, I’ve learned to make do, simplify, be more appreciative of what I have, rather than wishing for more.

  12. Beautiful, uplifting photos and sounds advice, Cindy. There are confirmed cases of Corona virus in the next town over from where I live. Life can’t stop, we just take precautions.

        • Yes, I have the same hope. I mean would you rather fight over toilet paper and presidential candidates, or take care of each other? One thing makes you feel worthwhile, and the other, terrified. Visualization is a secret strength in the toolbox of life. Love to you <3

          • Exactly! Well said, Cindy. And if it takes a pandemic to make us see this—well then God bless us! I first learned visualization in elementary school—theatre. Life-saving. Long distant love with wings to you too, Cindy! 💓 Nina

            • I love that, “Long distant love with wings!” If we learn to be kind to each from this pandemic, and to stop demonizing each other, then at least some good might come from it <3

  13. Hi Cindy, thank you for your informative post, complemented with beautiful pictures, to help keep calm in this difficult time. I also find keeping a journal, and really just pouring all my thoughts there, very relaxing. I guess that falls under self-talk. I especially found the point about guided visualization very interesting, shall be sure to practice that. Regards.

  14. Good advice and, yes, soothing photos. One of the things I tell myself when I’m faced with stress is that as long as I’m as prepared as I can be and I have a backup plan, I try not to worry about things that might happen, especially when they are out of my control.

  15. Such beautiful birds! I agree with your psychology! In addition, I’m thankful that I have my faith and a knowledge of the gospel. It’s a strength and a comfort to know that God is in charge during times of trial — such as with this virus. God bless and stay safe!

    • Spiritual connection and faith are powerful strengths that enable us to look beyond ourselves. Faith can endure, even when very bad things happen to us. I know you have this strength Linda and I am happy you do. Love to you <3

  16. Good soothing, balanced advice. I also like the controlled breathing practice- I do 4 seconds deep inhalation; count to seven, holding breath and exhale slowly to ten. The numbers can vary, but the lengths must be extended, according to your lung capacity. A few of these and I fall asleep again, if disturbed by anxious thoughts

    • Yes, this a version of progressive muscle relaxation. Similar to yoga. It works more and more efficiently the more you do it. I am glad you practice it. Be well my friend <3

  17. Love the photos! Good advice, too, although I’m not anxious.

    I’m slightly put out by two weeks of working from home, but I’ve blocked out a schedule to keep normal working hours. I’m not using social media except on weekends, as per usual. Too much noise and rumor-mongering doesn’t help.

    • “Too much noise and rumor-mongering doesn’t help.”
      It certainly doesn’t help, and I don’t like it. After all if you make too much noise, you can’t see wild birds 😉 <3 Love you my friend.

  18. My very own, being from the Rhineland and having lived in the Bonn/Cologne area for over 60 years, anxiety management is adhering to two paragraphs of the “Cologne Basic Law”. In the local dialect they would be
    – et kütt wie et kütt
    – et ess noch ömmer jood jejange
    Translated:
    – Things come as they come.
    – Things have always turned out well.
    Best,
    Pit

  19. Wonderful advice and toolbox, Cindy. Positive self-talk is a powerful tool at any time when one’s mind wants to wander into negative territory. Beautiful images to redirect the mind. My daughter calls it eye floss–looking at pretty pictures or cute pet videos when one is stuck in the muck of negative ramblings of the mind.

  20. Thank you for the anxiety-reducing strategies and, of course, the beautiful photographs.The bird with the block-coloring is incredible. I’ve been using one of your strategies for the past several months without knowing it is an anxiety-reducing strategy: When I go to bed, I put myself in a story or poem I’m working, and pretty soon I fall asleep.

  21. A wonderful reflection, Cindy. So beautiful given with joy and compassion. “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Marcus Aurelius. Hugs!!

  22. I have terrible anxiety, had downright panic attacks. I learned deep breathing and started mediation, which help me a lot.

    Just like you, in the night, before I fall asleep I make up a story or continue my favorite made up story. Lately, I have been listening to CALM an app designed to help you fall asleep without panic thoughts. I got it as a present but will continue to keep it around, even though it costs money.

    “Don’t let your imagination run you. You run your imagination.” I love this so much!

  23. Thank you Cindy, this is wonderful 🙂 And it’s great to see such beautiful photos reminding us there is much to wonder at in this world despite all the ugliness of pandemics, death and fear. It’s easy for fear to drive everything out of balance so we can’t see or think about anything else but we’re all doomed! With that in mind I’ve collected some little seeds of life which I’m hoping to sow this weekend with a view to seeing little green seedlings sprout into life in the next few weeks, spring coming and new life growing and hopefully blossoming is a cheery and soothing way to calm the storm of panicked thoughts that seek to overwhelm our troubled minds at times!

    • I am SO LUCKY! I blog so I get to know people like you <3 My 36 sweet pea seedlings are staked and I check them every morning, waiting for the fragrant bouquets they will yield in a month or so. My newly planted nasturtiums are growing exuberantly, like they always do. Plants do speak to us. It is just a different language. Love to you my friend and thank you <3

    • What I am is super lucky because I belong to this community of talented, creative, and kind people like you. I am very grateful for people like you Teresa ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

  24. Glad to know some of things that I have done through life are good tools to have. I do engage in self-talk time from time. It’s very good at clearing clutter from my mind when I need to concentrate on other things (like work). Also, the guided imagination … I call it “stepping onto the helicopter”. Remarkably, that too clears my mind when a gazillion things are going through my mind at bedtime, or I’m trying to fall back asleep after waking in the middle of the night (potty break). Limiting one’s exposure to the news is quite helpful. While I find it useful to be well informed, one does need to step back to the steady stream of news.

    I was planning to write a post on the “science behind the scenes” on testing, in particular why testing is lagging behind and where sci-tech is coming into play. I can tell you why testing is lagging behind – Trump shuttered the pandemic/infectious disease unit at CDC. Those who worked in the unit are in private industry or have taken retirement.

    • I love that you “step into the helicopter.” I can only imagine where you fly, but I am sure it must me amazing, and I am very glad you have learned how to fly away. You don’t want testing to work if you are not prepared to grapple with the results. Love to you David.

  25. Thanks for the great tips, Cindy. We really need to stay on top of our self management, now more than ever. Love your Aussie photos… I adore those male Superb Fairy Wrens – they are one of Nature’s feathered jewels. <3

  26. Thank you so much, Cindy for these guidance and beautiful photos. I read a couple of times, it’s very helpful. I practice yoga and take a 4-mile walk in the morning. I agree, the news can paint a much worse picture than it really is. Looking forward to reading more of your advice.

  27. Great tips, Cindy. I’m planning to watch some Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals and catch up on reading while we’re self-isolating here at the farm. Thanks…. sharing your post! We all need it.

    • We do. We need something more than what we are getting from the news. Musicals, catching up on reading, hanging out at the farm. Sounds like a perfect plan Bette. Good for you <3

  28. The most common reaction I find myself having is frustration bordering on anger at people who are creating such chaos and panic (news media bombarding everyone with conflicting information from sources that should not be used as sources). We can do what we have to do without people taking advantage of the situation (hoarding necessary items, preventing those in need from accessing items, selling needed items at outrageous costs to people who cannot afford it).

    ……and breathe.

    I love reality therapy ! 🙂

    • I know. If we pull together we can do basically anything, so it is frustrating, when we don’t, but it is also an example of what unchecked fear does, it creates panic which is harmful to the person who panic’s survival, and anyone who tries to help them. I know this because I used to be an ocean swimmer. If you panic when in trouble in the ocean, you drown, and pull the person who tries to help you down too.

      • Cindy that is a great example of what fear does to us.

        I still believe that the ‘news’ agencies who are reporting misleading information and/or opinion pieces as news at this time should be held accountable. If ‘we’ as individuals incited panic we would have consequences. We need to have a reliable source of information that addresses what to do, what not to do, and does so without inciting such fear. I believe we can be cautious and preventative without the panic.

        • “I still believe that the ‘news’ agencies who are reporting misleading information and/or opinion pieces as news at this time should be held accountable.”
          I so agree with you. I am so tired of each side demonizing the other. Why are we allowing this to continue? I remember when news what objective. Since when is ‘news’ and journalism so opinionated and so angry? I really feel it has done a huge disservice to people and to our well being. We are all worse off because of it. Remember, “Love they neighbor?” Why don’t we try this instead.
          Love to you my friend and please keep on chattering. You are a master <3

  29. I took the chains and plow off from the tractor to move a couple of cords of wood for next winter. Guess that is future orientation. Lots of fresh air too (not much air in the room these days). – Oscar

      • Oh, yes, I have rock moving projects too 🤪 I have an embankment which I am covering with rocks. Every time we walk the dogs, I find one rock in a ditch. I pick it up and carry it back to put into place. Better than carrying kettle bells around the gym…🏋🏽‍♂️ and I anticipate that I shall finish that project when I am about age 90.

  30. “I have ongoing stories that I return to every night before I fall asleep. I come up with new stories when the old ones start to lose interest.” I have done this all my life – it is a great way to ‘destress’. Thank you for the very useful advice you have provided here.

  31. Wonderful post – Thank you! I’ve always felt relaxed when browsing through your beautiful photos! The power and benefits behind them are innumerable. <3

    • Yes. The most important key is what you just demonstrated you are already doing. You recognize the type of faulty self talk you are prone to, and correct it. This is basically cognitive therapy in a nutshell and in your case, it will help keep you safe. Be well and stay safe my friend. Enjoy your beautiful garden (。♥‿♥。)

  32. Great advice Cindy. I think the blogging community is so important these days, with face to face opportunities to talk rapidly disappearing. And the reminder that (for the moment, in most countries) we can still get out and about, enjoy the fresh air and be inspired by nature.

    • Our international blogging community shrinks the world, makes people from distant places, neighbors. I so value being part of this community and being friends with people like you. Take good care. Enjoy nature & be well.

  33. Beautifully said, Cindy, from one who has earned the right to say it! I’m a BIG proponent of turning off the news (after we’ve become informed, of course). So much of that yammering gets on my last nerve, and everybody is frightened enough as it is. At times like this, it’s great being a writer and living in my own head, ha!

    • ” At times like this, it’s great being a writer and living in my own head, ha!”
      It is a major gift and strength. “If you can keep your head while about you are losing theirs,” then you are a writer my friend! (。♥‿♥。)

  34. Thank you for the wonderful photos and toolbox Cindy. It’s easy to switch gears with such beautiful images, and a nice bonus to live at the Holler and be able to go walk in such a beautiful place. I bet you’re a wonderful psychotherapist. Hugs and good health…🌺

  35. Thank you for taking time to write these and show us lovely animals. Knowing there is something to do, a remedy, can empower people to take some control of what they can and feel better. I’m taking pleasure in hunkering down.
    Stay safe and well.

    • “I’m taking pleasure in hunkering down.”
      I am so glad you are. There is opportunity in crisis, and we find out what it is when it unfolds, at the very least, we find out we have more inner resources then we knew before. I am glad you are finding pleasure it the midst of the noise and chaos.

    • “It is the mind that creates images… positive self-talk is most helpful.”
      Thank you. This is so true and perfectly said. I am glad you know this. Blessings back to you <3

  36. You had to hear our Spanish Minister of Health….” everything is fine”. O.K…. once I hear that I know that the shait is going to hit the fan and is raining now outside…. that is why people are not out of this glorious town I live in.
    I prefer to watch your photography, and still puzzled how you do it. Don´t let the secret go public as how you do it.

    • “everything is fine”. O.K…. once I hear that I know that the shait is going to hit the fan and is raining now outside.”
      Laughing…..Oh Charly you crack me up. I think exactly like you! I remember when the president at a place I worked calling all faculty “our family.” I knew I was in deep doodoo when he kept saying this, and I was right.
      Take good care Charly.

      • I know I crack you up,
        about taking care…. I live in a lieral whore house, though they are good at hiding their movements, hence I put my great poetry, and I know this is shait compared what yobu have lived ( But you were not in army and deployed! …boy) kidding about that one, shouldn´t but…. Just like your blog.

  37. Wonderful advice! I love how you acknowledge our anxiety and fear without dismissing it, but also give us tools to deal with it. My personal fear is less about getting the virus than about the devastating effect it will have on our society, and of being in a “locked down” world. So addressing that fear is my struggle, and I very much appreciate you outlining these steps to deal with it!

    • I love how you are brave enough to articulate your very logical fears. It takes courage to admit you have fears, and when you do, you take you take power away from the fear. It becomes smaller. Plus sharing your fear and learning that other people share and understand just how you feel takes the solo burden off your heart and mind. So you just did some very good things to take the wind out of your fear’s sails. Be sure to give yourself lots of extra TLC, distracting and enjoyable activities, rest, read, blog. These things all will help. You are not alone in being afraid. This is a scary situation ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

  38. Pingback: Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~Cindy Knoke | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  39. Finally, a blog/article that is useful, Cindy! I agree that viewing soothing images is relaxing and helps take our minds off the current events for a while. I am glad you can share your expertise on such a crazy subject. I tend to be a negative self-talker so I try not to read too much about these events. They’ve closed our university campus and we can only teach online, and I really will miss my face-to-face class students, and simply walking around our beautiful campus. Today, we went to our church (no handshake greetings or passing the collection plates) and our Pastor shared relevant passages about coping. Without making light of the situation, he said when Disneyland re-opens, all will be right with the world again. Shared on my Facebook feed!

    • Us negative self talkers really can turn things around when we tap down that voice. I like your pastors humor! He just made me laugh. Good on him! Yes my son in law’s campus is now online and my daughter is doing psychotherapy online. It is a true blessing.

  40. Thank you so much. Although not always successful…I’ve tried similar ‘tactics’ and they do sometimes work! (Probably don’t always apply myself to the task properly!) When it works,its’ such a relief.x

    • Yes, one of the tricks is practice, and the other is making what you do fun and life enhancing so it doesn’t feel like work. Your self talk can be humorous and your stories incredibly entertaining. Best of luck & take good care ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

  41. Reblogged this on BOOK CHAT and commented:
    With the constant bombardment by the news media about Covid-19, Cindy Knoke gives us some helpful advice for handling any stress or anxiety we may be feeling.

    • Awwww, I love my blogging friends. We are an awesome community and I am grateful to be part of it. You ROCK my friend. You touched my <3 Thank you & be well.

    • Yes we are home. I wanted to come home because my family are all here. But it it weren’t for that, Australia seems to have a far better medical system and proactive medical response them we do at home. They are already trying effective medication combos on patients that seem to eliminate the virus in ill people. They did genetic sequencing of the virus while I was there and they did it in a short amount of time, and they issue really calming, honest statements about what they were doing to keep people safe. Plus they did all this right after the fires. I was really impressed. Stay self and well Pauline <3

      • Yes I think we need to be near family in these uncertain times. So far Australia seems to be coping well, being so far away from many other countries and an island is in our favour. Maybe you will get back when all this turmoil is over. Stay safe Cindy

  42. I feel relax already by looking at your beautiful images. Indeed, the recent news and as well as social media messages recently just too much. We need to take a break, by reducing our exposure to news and stay positive. Thank you so much for your advice and tips!

    • It is so true. The news has become a toxic mix of anger, argument, polarity and doom. It is no longer calm and objective as journalism should be. It is no longer helpful to me, and is in fact harmful and skewed. I want to stay informed, but reducing my exposure to news media of all sorts helps me.

  43. Thank you so much for this helpful free therapy. My phone is flooded with news about Covid-19 and I just stopped reading them. Koala-ty pics as always. Stay safe and healthy, my dear friend. ♥ᕙ(^▿^-ᕙ)♥

  44. Pingback: Anxiety Management During Pandemic Days~ —Guest Blog – Looking For The Light

  45. Your photos are beautiful (particularly the flowers! What are they?)
    Guided visualizations no longer work for me as I lost most of my ability to visualize due to a conflict between two prescribed drugs I was on in the 90s (I’ve written about it in my ‘Something about me’ page), but I paint instead. 🙂 Just seeing and applying the bright or pastel watercolours relaxes me, and that’s what I’ve been doing recently. I also quite severely limit the amount of news I’m exposed to, and I don’t use Facebook or Twitter.

    • I love that you shared this because it so important. Anxiety reduction tools are not a one thing fits all solution. As Buddha said, ‘there are many paths up the mountain.” The important thing that you are doing is learning which tools work for you and employing them on a regular basis. Your painting sounds wonderful and I am glad you have such a wonderful gift. I agree with you completely about FB and twitter, neither help me, so I don’t use them, and the news, I read in a controlled, limited manner because the hysteria doesn’t help. Be well my friend and thank you for sharing what works for you. It will help other people <3

  46. Cindy, heartfelt thanks for this post.
    I woke up this morning in the middle of a panic attack… and haven’t been able to settle myself down all day. This is good.
    Be well, be happy, my friend. Hugs on the wing.

    • I am so sorry. Panic attacks are frightening and these pandemic days can definitely trigger them. I like using self talk for panic. The first bit of my self talk is something like this, “It is understandable that I am feeling panic. These are very scary days. It’s not my fault that I feel this way.” The important thing here is to acknowledge your panicky feelings and not blame yourself for having them. This acceptance of how you feel, of your panic, will already help you start to relax. Next just feel the panic for a bit, acknowledge it, let it have it’s moment. Then you move into progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing. I am going to post on these two tools today if the wifi will allow me to upload. You combine the breathing and muscle relaxation with guided imagination. Go off somewhere amazing in your head. You have one the most remarkable imaginations I have seen Teagan. It is much more powerful than fear. Use it to over-ride your fear. You don’t have to do things exactly like this. Pick and choose what works for you and make your own customized program. This will definitely work the more you employ it. Love & understanding to you Teagan <3

  47. Hello friend, me again … after ages … again! This was different from your usual, but so timely and needed. I find that shutting my eyes to take a stroll in my summer garden chases away the darkness of the world outside. Counting my blessings is a phenomenal spirit-booster. And prayer, of course. Thank you. Look forward to the coming posts. Big hugs, Sonali xx

    • Yes I love all of these! I love your stoll in your summer garden and know just what relaxing this would be. I am very glad you do this. Prayer is like hope on wings. It brings instant comfort. I have several prayers that I use regularly and I soon as I start reciting them, my whole body relaxes and I can feel it immediately. Take good care Selina & thank you <3

  48. What a wonderful post, Cindy. I had no idea that you were a professional psychotherapist!! These are all wonderful techniques. Most of which I work hard to utilize daily. I can freak myself out faster than anyone else. I just keep saying to myself and to others that I don’t catch colds, flu’s or viruses. And I don’t but still take precautions to avoid unnecessary exposure. I probably mentioned many times that I DVR the news and everything else. I watch the new is fast forward with the sound off. If it’s something sweet like a puppy, animal or a cute baby, I will watch happy stuff in real time. I’m informed but not bombarded. I’m technically in high risk group. Over 70 and with lung disease but I’ve been holding that at bay longer than expected too. I tell myself daily that I’m going to make liars out of the statisticians who predict how long I can last with this. I read a lot of uplifting spiritual information that puts my mind and attitude in charge. I add that to your toolkit and see my therapist once a month to keep me focused on living fully. I am concerned for those that this is impacting financially. So many small businesses are being hit hard. But I can’t fix it so it doesn’t help to worry or panic. I have everything we need here and if I don’t we’ll do without for awhile. Panic serves no one. My daughter will be working from home for several weeks too. This will be interesting but doable. 😉 I am such a lucky person. Thanks for sharing your toolbox. I’ll keep this list handy in case I get lost. I am still taking walks outside 5 days a week. Exercise is a great stress reliever. So is nature and my daughter is in love with your birds. The sweet Koala melts the heart too.

    • You have already put in practice so many helpful and positive tools. The trick is to take the tools that work for you and adapt them so they are fun and comfortable to do on a daily basis. This way they become a necessary and enjoyable part of your daily life. You are already doing this which makes me happy. You are taking good care of yourself. Good on you Marlene. Stay safe and be well my friend ♡´・ᴗ・`♡

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  50. 🙂 Thank you for such positivity. I know..not a word, but it clearly should be. 😉 I have a cabin in a beautiful meadow by a river. I can describe it to you in intimate detail. I visit often in times of stress. I do things there, relaxing things. I bake pies, sit by the fire, meander down to the creek. I made this cabin in my mind when I was young. Nature has always been my respite. I often wonder if I could just will it into existence and purchase it. LOL It’s so real in my mind I can literally feel the things I do there. This is definitely the upside of being able to visualize and feel things so intensely. I don’t have to tell you the downside. LOL Stay safe sweet Cindy, you always bring peace and joy to those around you with all your wonderful photos.

    • Your cabin sounds like a place I would love to be and I am happy you have the ability to escape there in your mind. This is precisely what I do and it is immensely relaxing. I read this book awhile back by Tony Judt called, ‘The Memory Chalet.” Tony had ALS. The swiss chalet he went to as a child was where he went to all the time in his mind to escape the progression of his disease. This type of guided imagination is extremely powerful. I am glad you practise this and know what I am talking about. Thank you for your very kind comment & stay safe my friend <3

  51. Thanks, Cindy, for such valuable, practical help. Although I’m aware, at a certain level, that the mind is a powerful tool at my disposal, it’s not always easy to programme it for yourself. Lying in bed, ‘thinking’, is often the worst. At least once I’m up I can do things to distract (and the house does need a good clean 🙂 )

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  53. Such wise advice, along with beautiful images, Cindy! Thank you for this!

    I have been long absent from even reading blogs, but hope to get more engaged again. Peace!

  54. Hi Cindy, thank you so much for sharing these helpful techniques with us. The guided imagination exercise is particularly interesting to me. Oh, and the photos really help as well. I hope you and your family are hanging in there.