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How to Handle Anxiety and Worry



If the current situation in the world has you on edge, you’re not alone. It’s a common reaction to feel anxiety and worry over a fear of the unknown. But when external factors are out of your control, one thing still within your control is how you react to them. You can take steps to calm your mind and relax a bit by following a few important tips.


Ten ways to stay calm during a challenging time

Check out the following tips to breathe a little easier despite everything that is going on in the world around us:


  • Try to stay positive. When you change your thoughts, it makes a big difference in your impression of what’s happening. Remember all the good things around you, such as extra time with your family, the benefits of slowing down, a sunny day, flowers in bloom, your pets, even your favorite TV show.
  • Do your best. Right now, many people are finding it hard to maintain life as usual—and that’s OK! Accept that some chores may not get done and that it’s difficult to keep children entertained while not in school. Simply do your best and be gentle with yourself.
  • Limit exposure to news and headlines. Learn the facts and what you can do by referring to credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Beyond that, excessive news and social media can become overwhelming. Try to take a break from it all and just breathe.
  • Stay connected with loved ones. Even though social distancing prevents in-person contact, there are still plenty of ways to connect with your friends and family. Phone calls are one way, and plenty of services exist to have video calls. You might even consider sending letters, cards or care packages.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. These substances can trigger anxiety or even panic attacks. It’s best to stick with healthier means to handle your stress.
  • Nourish your body. Eating well and drinking plenty of water will help you feel better—making it easier to think clearly. Stick to lean proteins, veggies and fruits (fresh, frozen or canned), low-fat dairy and whole grains. If you need to stock up, try a grocery delivery service or check with your local grocery store to see if they offer one.
  • Try meditation or yoga. The breathing techniques involved in these practices can help you naturally calm your nervous system—helping you put things into perspective. You can find yoga or meditation classes through fitness apps, YouTube or websites.
  • Get enough sleep. Your body needs rest, and even more so when you’re stressed out. Lack of sleep can just add to the anxiety you’re feeling. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try a white noise app. Switch off all devices an hour before bedtime. Keep your room cool and dark, and make sure pets have their own beds.
  • Stay active when you can. Exercise is an important way to stay healthy, plus it’s a natural stress reliever. Grab your sneakers and get outside for a walk. The fresh air and change of scenery will do you good—just remember social distancing while you’re out. 
  • Talk to someone. If you’re having difficulty calming down, it can help to talk to a trained professional:

    Contact Aetna Resources for Living to talk with a counselor about how you’re feeling. You can call 1.833.327.2386 with any questions or concerns you may have.

    There’s also help available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990, or by texting TalkWithUs to 66746.


We’re all in this together!

Try to stay calm and remember: you’re not alone! Everyone is experiencing similar worries and emotions. Just take small steps every day to do your best, find peace and help yourself set your mind at ease. 


You can find more resources for staying healthy at home by visiting our COVID-19 resources page.


This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.