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Managing Anxiety and Practicing Compassion During COVID-19

Friday, May 22, 2020
Practicing compassion/boy waving flag at Memorial Day parade

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. Remember the heroes.

During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, levels of anxiety in households across the nation have understandably risen, as parents and children alike struggle to adjust to the new normal. This anxiety can bring powerful symptoms such as chronic worry, restlessness, insomnia, feelings of dread, tense muscles, and irritability. In turn, we may experience feelings of sadness and hopelessness.  Since it is impossible NOT to experience some level of anxiety at this time, it is important to find ways to manage it. Managing anxiety does not mean eliminating it, but changing how we respond to it. Stress and anxiety can be managed through your mind, body and actions:


  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective and focus on what you can control.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get. 
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. 


  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Don’t skip meals and keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily. Exercise can help to boost your mood and maintain your health. 


  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly throughout the day when you are feeling stressed.
  • Take a time out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, or learn relaxation techniques. 
  • Get help online. If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, consider taking a mental health screen. Screening is an anonymous, free, and private way to learn about your mental health. 
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or talk to a therapist for professional help via telehealth. NewBridge’s licensed clinicians are conducting telehealth counseling sessions. Call (973) 316-9333 to schedule an appointment. (NewBridge accepts most insurances.)

A More Compassionate Approach to Anxiety

Practicing compassion toward others — and yourself — can improve your sense of well-being. Give this one from the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion a try. Another great resource is Dr. Eric Goodman’s new book, “Your Anxiety Beast and You: A Compassionate Guide for Living in an Increasingly Anxious World.”

For more information and resources on managing anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 crisis, go to NewBridge Services has created a repository of advice and information here.

Enjoy Memorial Day weekend. Let us all honor the brave individuals who gave their lives to protect the United States of America.

This article on managing anxiety and stress was written by Beth Jacobson, NewBridge Services Community Response and Education director

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