Right now, many of us are dealing with an extraordinary amount of stress and worry as a fallout of the pandemic. This global crisis has brought with it circumstances that may have you worried about your health or the health of loved ones, you may be worried about finances, business pressures or the disruption in the education of yourself or your children or you may be anxious about the government restrictions. You may feel lonely and isolated or just plain fed up or feeling hopeless about when the pandemic might end. If that is the case it is important to remember you are not alone, this is the most unusual set of circumstances and there is an end in sight. We just need to hold tight.
No matter what you are feeling we have come up with some ways that may help you cope with the difficult emotions that may arise, to help you hold on and to manage the anxiety you may feel. It is important to remember to give yourself a break; these are some suggestions that may work for some people at some time, but they don't feel possible right now, that’s ok! Try not put pressure on yourself and only do what you feel comfortable with.
- Get as much Natural light and Nature as possible
Getting outside and into nature can do wonders for how you are feeling. If you are lucky enough to have a garden or a balcony sitting in the fresh air is excellent or getting a walk to the local park can help lift your mood. Try to plan your day to get the most out of natural light. If you are working from home you could try sitting by a window where you can look at the sky or trees, or watch birds and other animals. This can help give you a sense of space.
- Look after your physical health
This can mean getting some gentle daily exercise be that a walk, yoga, Pilates or a full gym style home workout, whatever your level is committing to 30 mins a day of exercise will help get the endorphins flowing and improve your mood naturally. Also remember to eat nutritious food regularly and stay hydrated, drink 2 litres of water a day and avoid the pesky side effects of dehydration such as tiredness, headaches and poor concentration.
- Manage your news intake.
Stay connected with current events if you find it helpful, but take care with where you find your news and health information. Try to use trusted sources to find reliable updates. Only take advice from qualified professionals and limit the amount of news you are exposed to. E.g., it may be helpful to watch only one news bulletin throughout the day, consciously turn off the constant messaging from TV, radio and online.
If you enjoy using social media to connect to friends limit the amount of time you are active on sites and curate your feed and only follow the pages that make you feel good.
- Try Meditation
Meditation is a practice of quietening the mind and for some when you can create a little space between yourself and what you’re experiencing, your anxiety can soften. Try a meditation App like Mindspace, Calm or Insight Timer. Commit to trying meditation with an open mind and without judgement of yourself for 21 days and see if it works for you.
- Keep a diary
Journaling is a simple and effective way of putting in words any erratic thoughts that may pass your mind, allowing you to see in black and white how you are feeling. It can also help with taking the power out of those feelings and release those feelings for some.
- Set realistic goals
Try to make choices to control the things that you can. Although the pandemic means your choices may be limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
Then the things that you can change break down into small bitesize tasks that you can tackle on a daily basis, if it’s a work task, a home task or something you want to do with the kids break it into a daily or even hourly task.
If you are finding concentrating a challenge Solgar Balance Rhodiola Complex provides adaptogenic botanical herbs and nutrients that are well researched and have been shown to support human health and in particular stress response. By helping the body to respond well to stress, the nutrients in this formula may help to increase focus and energy while simultaneously promoting calmness and relaxation.
- Self-Talk analysis
Positive self-talk is a coping strategy that can potentially transform how you think and can break this vicious circle whereby negative thoughts lead to increased anxiety. A huge start to make is to begin by naming the thoughts, rationalising them and then turning them into a positive. A therapist can help you work though negative self-talk practices and help you turn it around.
- Reach out for practical supports
If you are worried about finances right now, reach out to those who can help you set a practical plan for your finances going forward. Reach out for the help when you need it.
- Connect to others digitally
If you can’t meet up with people or groups you’d like to see in person, make plans to video chat instead or a text or WhatsApp message or an old-fashioned phone call to connect.
You could join an online community that interests you, something positive where you will feel comfortable e.g., Parenting groups, art or theatre groups or even a gardening group. Whatever your interest is there will be a group to join.
- Set a sleep routine
Sleep is a critical pillar of our health and wellbeing, ensuring your body is getting enough rest and repair at night can be challenging when anxious. Click here for our top tips for getting a great night’s sleep.
Magnesium can really help with easing the body off to sleep. It helps to relax and ease muscle tension, helps your body and mind to relax. It can be taken orally with a supplement like Mag 365 or transdermally using magnesium rubs such as better you magnesium oil which is great for restless legs. Just massage into the area you are holding tension e.g., back, shoulders.
11. Self-Care is not selfish
The term self-care can mean something different to everyone. It may be a spa at home with your favourite face mask, hair mask and bubble bath or it could mean listening to your favourite podcast or reading your favourite book or even singing at the top of your voice to your favourite music. Whatever it is take at least 20 mins a day to do what makes you happy, it’s important for overall health including anxiety levels.
- Get some support
Reaching out to a therapist or to a medical professional for some short or long term help could be what you need right now. You will find a full list of support services and contact details here.