It’s OK not to be OK
Regaining peace of mind in difficult times

COVID-19 continues to change our world and our lives. Today, most of us are facing challenges with health, work, finances, and/or family. Challenges that can put a strain on our mental and emotional well-being.

You are not alone if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, burned out, and/or depressed. In fact, worry among Americans has increased by an estimated 230% due to the pandemic.*

Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is here to help with some carefully selected tips and resources. We’ll also tell you about the latest offering from Sharecare—the Unwinding Anxiety program—which couldn’t have come along at a more perfect time (and we’ve even arranged for you to try it out for free).

When you can’t fix it, let yourself feel it

Sitting at home can make you feel helpless. A pandemic without a vaccine can make you feel hopeless. Yet, trying to force yourself to feel better can end up making you feel worse. Experts say sometimes it’s OK not to be OK. That’s especially true now.

It is OK to feel scared. It is OK to feel uncertain. It is OK to feel lonely.

When there’s nothing we can do to fix emotional pain, simply feeling our feelings and accepting them can help us start to feel better.

Reset your expectations

Maybe you’ve heard that it was during a pandemic quarantine that William Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Isaac Newton developed his theory of gravity. Cheerful news stories invite us to use our time at home to do more, be better.

For many of us, this is not the right time to try baking bread from scratch, learn a new language, or write a screenplay. Unrealistic expectations and comparisons to others can bring you down.

“Try to not judge yourself by a standard set by someone else about how you should be spending your time,” says C. Vaile Wright, director of clinical research and quality at the American Psychological Association. “It’s OK to not be OK right now and to just do your best to get through this truly unprecedented time.”

Our successes these days may look very different from what we expected of ourselves just a few months ago. Slept through the night? Filed for unemployment? Exercised in your living room? Worked at the kitchen table beside your kids in their virtual classroom? Cooked and disinfected around the clock? These are all pandemic triumphs.

Focus on what is possible and what you can accomplish to help lift your spirits.

Free resources to ease your mind

Unwinding Anxiety®

Unwinding Anxiety is an app-based program offered by Sharecare® to help you break the cycle of worry. It was created by renowned neuroscientist and behavior change and mindfulness expert Dr. Jud Brewer.

“Inside every single one of us lies the ability to build resilience, and the more we understand how our minds work, the more we can work with our minds,” says Dr. Brewer, director of Research and Innovation at the Brown University Mindfulness Center.

Unwinding Anxiety has guided exercises, daily check-ins, access to experts, and a community of people who are all working to reduce their own anxiety.

BCBSAZ is giving all Arizonans free access through August 31, 2020. You’ll have three free months when you register for Sharecare and sign up for the Unwinding Anxiety program by May 31, 2020.

Register now at arizona.sharecare.com to start learning new ways to feel better.

Headspace

Meditation can help you feel less stressed, more resilient, and kinder to yourself. The Headspace app offers guided meditation, animations, articles, and videos. And right now, you’ll also find support for coping with the pandemic:

M2 Well-Being

Mindfulness boosts our well-being. It can help us change the impact of unproductive thoughts.

“When we notice [an unproductive thought], we have an opportunity to create some distance between us and the thought or feeling, and let it go,” says Susan West, owner and general manager of M2 Well-Being. “We can change our relationship with our thoughts, so we are less attached to and controlled by them.”

Try the free M2 toolkit with exercises to get started with mindfulness.