As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can understand what others go through with this and if you are anything like me, the Covid-19 lockdown has had me on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster of late!
I thought I would share some of my favourite ways of dealing with my anxiety, in the hope that some of these ideas can help others who are struggling too. I really hope you find the list helpful and something that works for you.
It is so easy to get carried away on social media while we are all locked away. Our need for any form of social interaction in social distancing times is high, and while social media can be great for this, it also has its pitfalls. It is ok to not want to talk about Covid-19 all the time and it is okay to tell people this. You should be following accounts that inspire you, interest you, teach you or make you smile – not for the sake of it. Keeping an eye on what and how much you are consuming is super important at this time when it is so easy to fall into a social media black-hole, so be careful! Set time limits and if you struggle with this, many phones now offer as setting for this.
Obviously, we all want to keep up to date with the situation but there is a risk of following the news too much and it causing your anxiety to heighten. Maybe restrict yourself to watching the news at a set time (we generally tune in for the briefing at around 5pm) and turn off news app notifications on your phone.
The importance of sleep is on most posts I write about anxiety. The better night’s sleep I get, the better I feel the following day, it really is that simple. I have been struggling immensely with it the last two weeks though, as I am sure many of you have. From sleeping 3 hours one night to 14 hours the next, my sleep schedule is so out of sync and I feel the effects of this constantly. A regular bedtime and morning alarm will really help you, even though the temptation to lay in can be huge when you are not at work!
You can check out my hacks to help you sleep better on my post – WORLD SLEEP DAY – 14 IDEAS TO HELP AID A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
Joe Wicks has been doing amazing things for kids while the schools have been shut but why not join in? There are so many apps and videos out there that you can follow now, there is no excuse not to get a little exercise in every day to get the endorphins pumping.
One of the lockdown guidelines is that we are allowed out for twenty minutes of fresh air and exercise a day and this is so important. Use your time, it is allowed and it will do you the world of good. If you can’t leave the house make sure you spend some time in the garden or keep your windows open.
Meditation is not for everyone but I thought that too – until I tried it! Meditation really helps me and I notice when I have gone a few days without it. You can find out more about my thoughts on meditation and how I got started on my post – HEADSPACE APP – IS IT WORTH PAYING FOR THE SUBSCRIPTION?
Grounding techniques are also super helpful when you find panic rising. I use the Breathe Square technique, but discuss others in my post – COPING WITH ANXIETY – GROUNDING TECHNIQUES
I am not trying to be a party pooper – honest! But I am sure that many of us have noticed our intake of these two things going up since being in lockdown and if you are struggling with anxiety, they will not be helping! Things to try instead include herbal teas, decaffeinated versions, ‘virgin’ cocktails or wine spritzers rather than a full glass of wine.
Both of these go hand in hand and should always be observed. At the moment when it is difficult to go shopping I know some are struggling, but there is still plenty of healthy meals you can make for you and your families. We have really been enjoying the Jamie Oliver show that is on channel 4 at half five every weekday evening, where he is showing easy meal ideas when you may not have your normal ingredients in.
Obviously questions from your children may exacerbate your own anxiety and the current situation may also be making them very anxious. One of my favourite podcasts, MotherKind, had a great episode recently on how to talk to your children about Covid-19 and I would highly recommend it if you would like some pointers on addressing your little ones questions.
Anybody already on medication needs to make sure they keep continuing to take it and ensure you don’t run out, as gaps can make your symptoms much worse, even if it is only a day or two. Most pharmacies are offering delivery if you cannot get there to collect your medication. If your anxiety is getting really hard to handle and you are struggling with these thoughts, I would suggest speaking to your GP about it. Mine currently have a phone/email system set up and they will call you back for a chat. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds are nothing to be ashamed of needing and they generally work really well for people, but your GP will be the best person to chat about this to.
Try and stop worrying about next week, next month, when this is over etc. These thoughts will only reinforce your anxiety as we do not yet know when things will change and so are therefore out of our control. Knowing what we can and can’t control is vital to understanding and reducing our anxiety. Those things we can’t change are not worth our worry because, well, we can’t change them! Focus on what you can do for you and your loved ones today and go from there.
Another one I always find important in helping to reduce anxiety. I write lists and make plans so I don’t have all the things that need doing in my head to worry about. I am forgetful as it is, so trying to remember things will always make me more anxious! Keeping structure to your day will help keep you on track while we are in lockdown – getting dressed, having a good bedtime routine etc. will all help keep you avoid anxiety and depression like states
You can read some of my ideas to keep you busy during isolation in my post – KEEPING SANE IN SELF ISOLATION
I really hope these ideas help some of you who may be experiencing anxiety at the moment. I would love to hear of any tips you have too, please pop them in the comments below! Take care and keep safe,
I am pleased to be a member of the IA and also on the committee of my local group – Notts and Derby IA – however the views expressed in this blog are my own and are not necessarily the same as the IA
Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!