If you have suffered from anxiety in the past, you would recognise the various feelings surrounding anxiety such as increased heart rate, feeling nervous, nauseous and/or sweaty. Some people also suffer from panic disorder or panic attacks. During the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have experienced varying degrees of anxiety throughout this time. With the added requirements for some to be socially isolating at home, it can be even harder to get rid of feelings of anxiety. Luckily, there are ways you can deal with feeling anxious as well as ensure you stay safe.
We don’t mean that you should go out to friends’ homes and continue doing what you’ve been doing. You will still need to be responsible and stay home as much as possible. But, you can still stay social.
If you’re feeling isolated, it’s important to stay in touch with the people that matter to you. If you stay in touch with people, it can help to reduce stress levels and therefore, feelings of anxiety. The best way to stay in contact is with technology such as video calling and online conferencing. This is the time when social media may be helpful. Get in contact with friends via social media by sending a message or organising a video call. No social media? That’s okay! Instead, you can use an app on your smartphones such as Hangouts or WhatsApp. For PC/Mac, you can use a program such as Zoom.
Spend Quality Time Together
If you live with friends or family, make sure the time you do spend together is meaningful. It’s easy to get used to having those people around, but it’s best to make good use of this time together where you can. Instead of just watching a movie together where there’s little to no interaction, maybe choose an activity such as playing a board game together or bake some delicious treats together. It’s a good time to have deep, connected conversations that you’d normally not have time to partake in. If you’re feeling anxious or down during this time, connecting with your family may be a good idea. They may be able to offer you some extra support throughout this time.
Avoid The News Temporarily
Even though you may want to stay in the loop with what is happening in the world, watching and reading the news can be anxiety-producing for many people. If you’re left feeling stressed after watching the news, it may be a good idea to give it a break for a little while. Give yourself a limit on how much news you will read or watch each day. If you’re having a hard time stopping yourself, you could ask a friend to filter out the news for you and just give you the important updates that are relevant to you.
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
It’s easy to think negatively about the future that lies ahead for us. In fact, forecasting the future can often leave you feeling worse for wear. When you find yourself thinking of negative thoughts and patterns, turn it around to something positive. For example, instead of “I’m never going to get through this”, turn it around and say to yourself “I can get through this”. There are also a number of different meditation apps and videos on Youtube that have simple meditations and yoga workouts to do at home. These are great for your mind and your body. You can feel relaxed and get a bit of a workout, too.
With the current restrictions, you are allowed to go outside for exercise. This is a good time to make the most of this availability and get moving outdoors. Sometimes, getting fresh air, being in the sun and doing a simple workout can help to clear our minds. If you’re feeling low, a short walk outside may be just what you need. If you’re not a fan of walking, you might like to try and go for a run, go for a swim at the beach or even try going for a bike ride.
If the current pandemic is making you feel very anxious, is stopping you from doing the things you would normally do or is having an adverse effect on your relationships and daily life, you may want to consider getting help. Your doctor is a good place to start to get the help you need. If you’re not able to get to a doctor’s office or your local doctor is inundated with patients at the moment, you can reach out to free counselling services such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline for help, support and counselling. They may also be able to refer you to local support services if you need them.