This is the first of our new blog series, ‘Dear Friend…’ where volunteer and blogger Kara will be answering some of the mental health and wellbeing questions we have during this challenging time.
I’m feeling really anxious about the coronavirus. Are there any tips for managing my anxiety and fears?
First of all, you’ve taken the first step of managing your anxiety by just realising you’re struggling with it. Recognising a problem and looking for solutions means you’re showing the resilience that is implemental in recovery. We’re all living in a pandemic right now, so it’s an understandable reaction.
Anxiety, simply explained, is a natural human experience that connects with fear. Both are part of our biological alarm system to keep us safe from harm and they trigger the well-known flight or fight response. But often, we don’t need this flight or fight response, and we find ourselves left in a body shaking with adrenaline and a throat closed in fear that affects us maintaining a good quality of life.
So, what can we do?
The best overall advice for supporting our anxiety levels is a balance of accepting what you can’t change and changing what you can.
Take care of yourself
Sleep – keep to a regular routine.
Eat – make sure to eat from all the food groups, and as much fruit and vegetables as you can.
Exercise – an exercise routine accepting the present limitations of course. Maybe dance around your room or try some early stretching in the quiet morning.
Limit your stimulants as much as possible.
Try some Mindfulness
This can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like it to be. Try some mindfulness techniques like these perhaps: https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/Distress
Calm your body and your mind with sight, sound, taste, touch, hearing:
- Look at pictures of serene places – perhaps make a scrapbook.
- Stand barefoot in your garden (or outside for your hour of exercise if you’re not bothered by strange looks ?)
- Have a look on you tube, podcast or audible for suitable meditations. I personally enjoy binaural beats.
- Write, or do some art. Maybe keep a diary of the lockdown, we’re making history right now!
- Read fiction or autobiographies, explore other cultures or stories from your home. If you don’t like to read how about an audible subscription.
- Listen to music you find calming, like classical or birdsong for instance.
Create or achieve
– Access an online course. Reed offer lots of free courses, enhancing your CV or exploring interesting subjects further. Local colleges also tend to offer free online short courses.
– Learn a musical instrument.
– Start a craft project.
Stay in contact
It’s more important than ever to keep in touch with friends and loved ones.
- Call a friend or write old fashioned letters for those who prefer a hand written word.
- Seeing people is important too – Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Zoom and Skype all offer video messaging. Why not get the whole family to connect up together?