Feeling an intense amount of fear during this time is completely normal, especially if you’re living with an anxiety disorder as it can heighten those feelings a lot. We’re living in a world where a global pandemic is going on, with many countries being shut down and the way we normally live our lives has been stripped away, it’s totally normal to feel stressed and worried, we’re all feeling the same way right now.
For many, having overwhelming feelings of uncertainty is the hardest thing to process. Not knowing when you’re going back to work if you’re going to have enough money to pay the rent, or even when life will go back to normal. This can tend to lead to a sense of dread and panic but that are things you can do to help ease the feelings of anxiety and make this time a little less stressful.
1. Stay informed- but not too much
We’re all constantly checking the news, making sure we’re watching it at the times it comes on our TVs, but did you ever think to yourself ‘am I watching/checking it too much?’ or ‘How’s it making you feel?’ The chances are it’s making you feel a lot more stressed out and your anxiety is more heightened every time you do watch the news. Whilst it’s ok to check up once in a while and keep yourself informed with everything that’s going on in the world, it’s best not to overdo it for your own sake.
Especially when there’s so much misinformation going around, and some outlets only spark fear through their posts, it’s important to stick to reliable sources such as the World Health Organization. Limit the time you spend monitoring the news and social media, it can end up being quite compulsive which will fuel the anxiety you’re feeling even more. If you start to feel overwhelmed then be sure to step away, consider limiting the time you spend looking and stick to a specific time frame. Be sure to ask someone who you trust to send you reliable updates of any information that is vital for you to know.
2. Stay connected
The most important thing right now, is that we still keep in contact with our loved ones and friends. We can’t go to see them anymore as we used too, so keeping in touch as much as possible is vital not just for you but for them. Social distancing can be extremely hard at times, but it’s what is best for everyone right now. We as humans need to socialise, when we’re isolated it can often bring on feelings of anxiety and depression. We can’t see our families, friends, or significant others and yes it is hard, but it won’t last forever.
So make it a priority to speak to your friends and family, it’ll help ease those feelings of anxiety. Make the most of the use of video calling, it’s the closest we can get. Seeing someone face to face is a lot better than just talking on the phone. If you don’t feel like doing that, have a phone call or talk on social media. Start a group chat that way you can talk to more than one person, just stay connected.
Don’t let the virus be the main topic of conversation, it’s important to make sure that you push it aside for a while, distract yourself and enjoy each other’s company. Have a laugh, focus on other things that are going on in each of your lives. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling to those you care about, the most likely chance is their feeling exactly the same.
3. Take care of yourself
This is something we’ve probably all forgot to do these past few weeks, it’s hard to stick to a routine when all you do now is stay inside, it can be easy to just lay on the sofa all day in your pajamas. Be kind to yourself, these times are tough and you need to be kinder to your body and your mind. If you’re experiencing anxiety a lot more than usual, know you’re not alone and to go easy on yourself.
Even though it is difficult to try and maintain a routine as best you can, sleep at a certain time, do school work, eat healthy meals, take your vitamins and stick to your work schedule. To help try and have that sense of normality in any way you can. We’re allowed our one form of exercise a day, make the most of it. Go for a run, walk a bike ride and just feel the breeze on your face or even just sitting in your garden if you can for an hour or so just to get that a bit of fresh air.
Staying as active as possible can relieve anxiety and stress and help manage your mood. Make the most of online videos, some personal trainers are doing classes online now so that might be of interest to you. Do some yoga or exercises that use your own bodyweight to build your strength up. Take time to relax, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you to feel better.
4. Focus on what you can control
A lot of things right now are completely out of our control, things to do with the pandemic and how long it’ll last or the panic buying in supermarkets. Some things we simply can’t change, it can make us feel drained, anxious and overwhelmed. When you feel like you’re getting stressed, focus on what you can control. When talking about reducing your personal risk, that’s something you can control.
So do what is suggested, wash your hands for the 20 seconds recommended, avoid touching your face, staying home as much as possible, even if you’re not sick. Avoid non-essential shopping and travel, keeping the 2m distance, getting plenty of rest and making sure to follow all recommendations from health authorities. These are all things we can control at the moment, and it’s best that we do all of these things to help ourselves and protect us.
5. Do things you enjoy
We have a lot of free time on our hands at the moment, so take that to your advantage. Do things you love, or find something else to enjoy that you’ve always wanted to but haven’t had the time. If you’re feeling low, worried and anxious it can often stop us from doing what we love. But focusing on your favorite hobby can really help your mind.
Make the most of the internet, there are so many online videos telling you how to do certain things, people are hosting online pub quizzes and musicians are doing live streams of music. If you’ve always wanted to learn to cook, then grab a recipe book and start cooking or baking something yummy. If you’re into art but you’ve never drawn in your life, learn how to and you never know you might off unlocked a hidden talent. If you’re into music, maybe learn to play that guitar you’ve had in your room for ages, write some song lyrics down.
Read a book, have a clear-out if that’s what you enjoy, play your favorite game or if you simply just want to watch your favorite film, then do that. Just enjoy yourself and make the most of the free time we have right now.
Don’t forget to speak up if you’re feeling low, talk to those you care about or if you feel like you need to talk to a professional. Contact a counselor or your GP as most are doing online video calls or phone calls, there’s always someone who is willing to listen.
If you’re interested in online counseling do not hesitate to get in touch with Becky 0751049571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Instagram @counsellorwhocares the same for Twitter or you can fill out the form on the website.
Even though times are extremely difficult right now, this won’t be forever and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Look after yourselves and your minds that’s the most important thing right now.