Many of us have experienced enhanced levels of anxiousness throughout this pandemic isolation. Some, however, have told me how they’ve felt much calmer.
All of us are different and we have our own journey when it comes to mental health.
My clients have noticed how everyone else seems really stressed, worried and having difficulty in isolation. Whereas for them, this feels like an ideal situation; staying at home, relaxing and having everything available online.
The most common anxiety disorder I treat is social phobia. That’s where the anxious feelings strike when you’re in the company of other people, while performing, interacting, small talk or social occasions.
Due to the isolation, people are generally not interacting on the usual scale and so not having to face the fear they normally would if working and socialising.
For some of you, mental ill health is happening for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s hard for someone who has never experienced mental ill health before to try and place what’s going on and what to do.
For others who have lived with mental ill health in the past you’re now using the techniques that work for you to manage and support yourself.
For those of you who suffer from health anxieties, this time actually makes anxiety feel much stronger because Covid-19 places an emphasis on germs and health. Tension dramatically increases for those of you who are fearful of contamination or germs, vomiting or getting sick. This gives rise to obsessive compulsive disorders and coping behaviours if not properly managed.
As restrictions start to ease, people’s anxiety may not.
Many with long-suffering anxiety will be feeling a fresh wave of tension as we reconnect with society again. People may need a little time to carefully transition just as they did when working from home and isolating at home.
Returning to life as it was, may be more of an emotionally roller-coaster than we think.
In the meantime, you’ll find a few free anxiety-reduction and management resources – including Covid-19 Anxiety right here.
10 Ways to keep Anxiety at bay
Here are some practical ways that you can keep feelings of anxiety at bay if you are starting to feel overwhelmed.
1. Channel your anxious energy into action: get informed, plan, and prepare
We often feel anxious when events feel out of our control. Instead equip yourself with the facts about COVID-19 from trusted sources
2. Limit or avoid unhelpful media and misinformation
Limit your exposure to media, news, and social media about coronavirus will help quell the panic.
3. Cut down or stop the behaviours that are fuelling your anxiety
There are certain actions, when performed frequently, that can fuel anxiety about health, and germ-phobia.
Being aware of these behaviours, understanding how they’re making you feel, and replacing them with more helpful coping strategies can alleviate disproportionate feelings of anxiety.
4. Stay focused on the here and now, taking each day step by step
Try to focus on the here and now- not the past and not the future.
5. Be aware of negative thoughts and don’t give them too much power
When you notice yourself worrying a lot, take a step back, and try to let worries pass by without focussing on them too much.
6. Look after your body
Get enough sleep, exercise, eat well, avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and drugs. This will help protect your mental health and immune system.
7. Stay connected with others
It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others, and connect with other people who are supportive.
8. Help other people, be kind, and compassionate
When we help other people, it can also make us feel better.
9. Take a breath
When you feel overwhelmed take a few slow, deep breaths to help you calm down. Here’s a simple 1 minute technique to calm yourself.
10. If you’re feeling like you’re not coping, get professional advice
It’s ok to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Here’s a simple way to book a FREE 30 min chat with me.