Tips and tricks to manage anxiety during this time
AS the coronavirus pandemic and its far-reaching implications continue to affect globally, but also in our communities, it’s normal for people to experience a range of thoughts, feelings and reactions like:
- Stressed or overwhelmed
- Anxiety, worry or fear
- Racing thoughts
- Sadness, tearfulness
- Loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities
- Physical symptoms – increased heart rate, stomach upset, fatigue
- Frustration or anger
- Restlessness or agitation
- Trouble relaxing
These feelings are understandable during this time. There has been rapid changes to our way of life – work, social gatherings, study, sport, appointments, leisure, travel.
On top of that, people are concerned for their own and loved ones’ health and safety. There is still so much uncertainty.
There are many ways that we can help reduce and manage our current anxieties. What’s important is we find our own individual ways to calm our nervous system which may be on overdrive at the moment. Here are some ideas to help keep calm:
- Go for a walk, run or any other form of exercise. If you can’t leave the house – there’s a multitude of exercise apps out there.
- Stop, sit and take 10 slow deep breaths.
- Mindfulness – apps like Smiling Minds or Headspace help with this.
- Journal/ write down your thoughts so they are not swimming around in your head.
- Music is a huge healer – pull out a musical instrument that’s been hiding away or put some music on, sit outside and take in deep breaths.
- Perform an act of kindness. When we think of others and do things for others, we release a bunch of happy brain chemicals.
- Take a long bath – put candles on, turn on music and sit there.
- Allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings – whatever you are feeling right now, know it’s okay to feel this way. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling.
- Maintain day-to-day activities and a routine – go back to basics and eat healthy and exercise the best you can.
- Stay connected – make time in your day to spend time with supportive family or friends and talk through concerns, thoughts and feelings. You can do this while maintaining social distance – call or text, organise a video chat workout with a friend, share recipes to friends online.
- Keep things in perspective – what are the things within my control? Are you over-estimating the likelihood of worst-case scenario? What strategies in the past have worked that will help this time? What small helpful or positive action can you take now?
- Set limits around news and social media.
- Get plenty of sleep.
And of course …
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid crowds and gatherings of 10 or more.
- Avoid non-essential shopping and travel.
- Keep 1.5m distance between yourself and others.
- Follow recommendations from health experts.