We are all probably experiencing increased amounts of anxiety these days. The fear of the unknown can easily overwhelm and feel like it will overtake us. Amid difficult times, we want to dwell in and share hope for the sake of our anxiety and the sake of family, friends and neighbors. As we will be in our homes more, HopeNet has gathered up some great tips from our therapists and other staff members to offer you some ways to manage your anxiety, find peace and hope amidst the unknown and help connect your family and friends in the process. Here are some ideas on how to stay connected during the next few weeks.

Take advantage of our phones. We are very blessed to live in a time where technology can help us connect so easily. As we are separated physically from many in our support system, we can use our phones to stay connected to each other. Apps like WhatsApp and Marco Polo let you share videos, group chats, video chat, or call our loved ones around the world. Use them to start conversations, check in on one another and connect.

Send letters, photos and videos to high-risk family members. Many of our grandparents or older family members will need to stay physically isolated for their health. But we can keep them involved and brighten their days by sending pictures and videos of daily life. It can be very simple things like a photo of your family eating breakfast or a video of a child talking about a book they just read.

Keep moving! Make sure you are still incorporating healthy movement or exercise into your daily life. Take a walk around your neighborhood or sit outside on a beautiful day. Find a yoga or pilates YouTube channel and do a little bit each day. Moving our bodies can help keep our mood up and fight depression and anxiety symptoms. The Wichita YMCA is also offering free classes on YouTube at YMCA 360: Your Virtual YMCA.

Keep a schedule. Your children may be feeling anxious during this time, as well. Make a schedule for how you will spend each day while you’re at home. Include educational time, screen time, reading, or napping time and time outside. Many educational companies are offering free curriculum and content for parents looking to keep their kids learning, engaged and not bouncing off the walls. The routine will help quell kids’ anxiousness.

Check on your neighbors. This is a great time to connect with your neighbors and see how they’re doing. Lending them some sugar or some extra rolls of toilet paper can lift their spirits and keep them away from crowded stores. Just make sure to follow the recommended social distancing guidelines.

Reconnect with an old hobby. In life’s busyness, many of us have let our favorite hobbies fall by the wayside. As we are going out less during this time, use the time to reconnect to a part of yourself that you may have forgotten. Creativity is a great way to strengthen your mental health, and it is fun!

HopeNet therapist, Katherine Lewis says that it is normal to feel panic and anxiety when facing uncertainty, but emphasizes the importance of reaching out to others and staying connected. Sharing our fears can help decrease their weight. Make sure you are staying connected to those you love during these difficult days, for your mental health and theirs.