There are several reasons for this surge in anxiety—health concerns, social isolation, job loss, and racial or economic disparities, to name a few. But whatever the cause, if you suffer from anxiety, it’s crucial to have an outlet to manage these symptoms.

According to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about four out of 10 adults in the United States report feelings of anxiety due to this pandemic. This is a significant increase from the one out of 10 adults who reported anxiety back in 2019.

There are several reasons for this surge in anxiety—health concerns, social isolation, job loss, and racial or economic disparities, to name a few. But whatever the cause, if you suffer from anxiety, it’s crucial to have an outlet to manage these symptoms.

Of course, there are obvious the coping mechanisms such as a breathing exercise, meditation or yoga practice, but those just begin to scratch the surface. Below are some creative and non-traditional anxiety management tips to use on a daily basis. And since COVID-19 is still a threat, they can all be done in the safety and comfort of your own home. 

Find Social Connection through Online Gaming

Before you brush this off as just a mindless activity, consider that online games can improve both your mental health and interpersonal connections. In fact a 2020 survey from Chumba Casino found that 68 percent of respondents use online games to meet their social interaction needs during COVID-19, and 73 percent agree they help to reduce stress, manage anxiety and increase overall mood. Whether you prefer a brain stimulation game like Minecraft, a tactical multiplayer game like Fortnite, or a competitive relay game like Mario Kart, this virtual hobby can be a beneficial outlet to decompress and feel a sense of community. 

Have Your Own Dance Party in the Living Room


It’s well established that physical exertion releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which activate pleasure centers in the brain. However, due to continued social distancing, you’ll want to find an exercise that you can do at home—and this is where dancing comes in. The fluid, rhythmic movements encourage freedom of expression, and Frontiers in Psychology reports that dancing as a therapeutic intervention can help manage anxiety, depression and other negative mental health outcomes. So, crank your favorite music playlist, turn the living room into your own personal dance floor and unleash those freestyle moves.

Start Your Own Garden in the Backyard or Patio

The outdoors can have a calming effect on the senses, but if you don’t live near any hiking trails or nature preserves, then start a garden and re-create these benefits in your own backyard. Horticulture is known to help lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels and boost the mental well-being of those with chronic stress, anxiety or depression, the British Medical Journal points out. In addition, if you live in an urban area or don’t have much yard access, some plants can be grown on patios or even indoors. Most herb varieties and certain vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and lettuce are ideal for small space gardening.  

Channel the Mindfulness Benefits of Crocheting

If you want a more artistic hobby to distract yourself from anxious thoughts and keep your hands occupied at the same time, crocheting is an excellent creative outlet. The repetitive motion of this activity, combined with the focus and mindfulness it requires, can put your brain in a state of both meditation and relaxation, according to researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia. This helps to counteract the fight-or-flight response and intrusive thinking patterns associated with anxiety, the data continues. Even just 15–20 minutes of crocheting each day can help to increase your levels of both physical and mental relaxation.   

Adopt or Foster an Animal from Your Local Shelter

Are you in a position to either adopt or foster a rescue animal? If so, this could do wonders for both anxiety management and overall quality of life. The consistent presence and soothing companionship of an animal can stabilize your mental health in numerous ways. Caring for a pet will establish daily routines, bolster positive self-esteem and form a depth of connection between you and another living creature. In addition, the nonjudgmental acceptance and instinctive physical contact that animals provide can help regulate your emotions in times of anxiety and other crisis situations, the BMC Psychiatry Journal explains.


In Conclusion: Give Non-Traditional Anxiety Management a Try


Anxiety is a prevalent mental health concern in today’s volatile, unpredictable climate. Between all the fears, uncertainties, stressors and divisions that can wreak havoc on your mind, it’s vital to keep anxiety management tools in your arsenal.

Some events and circumstances are outside your control, but you are not powerless over those anxious thoughts in your head. So, the next time anxiety threatens to hurl you off-balance, remember to give some of these coping mechanisms a try. Sure, the tips listed above are non-traditional, but you might just be surprised how calming and restorative they are.     



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