With so many women experiencing stress and anxiety due to social distancing and quarantine, we spoke with art psychotherapist Tina Montagna-Tate, MA, ATR-BC, LPC about how we can calm our nerves and get through these next weeks. 

1. Foster an attitude of gratitude. Especially during these difficult times, it’s important to take stock of what’s going right. Thinking about things you’re grateful for can shift your perspective and lift your mood. When you make your gratitude list, try to be specific. And they don’t have to be big either–feeling grateful even for your perfect strawberries at breakfast can do the trick. 

2. Calming Mantras For Worry Brains: If you’re prone to worry, or “what if?” thinking, a calming mantra can help slow your brain’s roll. Come up with a mantra that is balanced and truthful (“It’s too soon to have the answers” or “We have everything we need right now,” “We’re doing what we can do,’) and repeat every time a worry presents.

3. Make a “Feel Better List” – Generate a list of things that make you feel better and engage in these activities regularly, when needed. Taking a walk or bath, eating ice cream, and playing word games on your phone are obviously not skills built for long term coping with ongoing stress but they can be just the thing for a temporary situation which produces lots of discomfort or anxiety.

4. Add structure to your day – Being closed in, without your usual daily routines and can feel aimless and disorienting. Now’s the time to try time blocking or making a checklist with 5 things you need to accomplish everyday.

5. Intentionally connect with people – The social distancing is good for our health, but not necessarily good for our mental health. Embrace the dreaded group text, send actual cards in the mail, video chat with your friends, and encourage kids to do the same thing.