If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed during this time of change and uncertainty, you are not alone. Even if you are not typically an anxious person, it is common to feel certain symptoms of anxiety during a pandemic.
Anxiety has an important role in our life as it helps us to avoid danger in certain situations. The problem we have is when our anxiety is activated, and we feel that we are in immediate danger and we are not.
Anxiety is a natural response to fear that is approaching, and in some cases, it can be helpful. For example, handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing are all important actions to assist with keeping us safe during this pandemic. However, prolonged periods of anticipatory anxiety can impact on the quality of our everyday life.
Remember a problem shared is a problem halved and anxiety counselling can provide you with a great deal of relief during this time of change.
Here are some tips that can help keep unnecessary feelings of anxiety at bay during this time of change.
Is Doctor Google fuelling your anxiety?
Being fearful that you are sick or are going to get sick and then continuing to google your symptoms, are actions that when performed frequently, can trigger your anxiety about health. Focusing too much on bodily symptoms, and relying on “Dr Google”, can consume one with anxious thoughts and panic.
It is best to replace these actions with more helpful coping strategies by focusing on an activity that you do have control over. For example, going for a walk, taking some deep breaths, doing the dishes, pay attention to what is working in your life. Of course, if symptoms persist seek medical advice and anxiety counselling. Seeking the right help from mental health professionals is also advisable.
Limit unhelpful media
Being exposed to alarming, anxiety-inducing stories convinces us that there is something to panic about, and further perpetuates myths, rumours, misinformation, uncertainty and anxiety. The more we read and hear about it, the more frightening it becomes, and the less chance we have to distract ourselves and do things that can take our minds off it.
Although it might be tempting to keep informed, or difficult to escape, limiting your exposure to media, news, and social media about coronavirus will help quell the panic.
Mindfulness – Breathe, Pause and Refocus
When we are often residing in the uncertain future, we begin to experience anticipatory anxiety. Taking a deep breath, pausing, and refocusing our attention back to the present moment can often help to calm the mind and body. Mindful activities include walking and focusing on the sensations of the feet as they hit the ground can be—well, grounding.
Pausing and listening to sounds around us can direct our minds to being in the here and now. Further activities that bring us back to the present moment include, exercising, drawing or painting, cooking, listening to music, knitting, gardening, doing a puzzle and keeping an attitude of gratitude are helpful to keep us grounded in the present moment. Focusing on solutions to challenges that are workable keep us grounded and in a state of optimism. When worry about problems that are outside of our control make us experience our present moment with fear and can engulf us with overwhelming feelings of unease.
Social connection for well-being and confidence
Social connection and social support allow us to share our experiences and feelings associated with others also experiencing the same situation during this pandemic. Connecting with others often calms the nervous system that we experience and contributes to feelings of being cared for and loved. This helps to release chemicals into our body which are soothing and balancing to our thinking and emotions. Our technology provides us with the opportunity to connect with others who are at a great distance during this pandemic.
A problem shared is a problem halved. It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others and connect with other people who are supportive. Anxiety counselling also helps you stay connected and provides you with the opportunity to find suitable solutions to manage your anxiety.
Try to stay connected to supportive people in your life so you feel less isolated and lonely and more confident that you do have people who support you in your life. Remember you are not alone, and we are all in this together as we navigate through these times of uncertainty and change.
Sleep | Exercise | Eat Well |Smile |Repeat
Get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, smile, and repeat daily!
Smiling can increase serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins hormones which assist in reducing our levels of stress. According to researchers when we smile our brain registers it as a sign of happiness and this lifts our mood.
Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and drugs as this will help protect your mental health and immune system.