If you’ve ever had to give a presentation at work or someone you know has been in trouble, you may have suffered from anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of worry that increases your heart rate or makes you feel sick when you’re concerned about something, and understandably, many of us are experiencing an increase in anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, anxiety settles down when we take our mind off the thought or tackle the problem head-on. But in this uncertain time, it’s important to keep yourself calm, as excessive anxiety can cause both physical and psychological health issues.
It can be tempting to manage anxiety by drinking, binge eating, or zoning out in front of the TV or video games. But this is an unhealthy way to manage your emotions. Here are some healthy ways to handle your anxiety during this global pandemic.
It’s easy to fixate on the news or your anxious thoughts during this time. But with a bit of practice, you can purposefully choose to take a break from worrying feelings by shifting your attention to another activity by using a meditation technique called mindfulness. You could try formal mindfulness meditation exercises or simply concentrate on listening to music or going for a walk.
Self soothe using your senses
Make a list of pleasing sensations. Each day choose one thing that feels good, such as taking a warm bath, lighting lovely smelling incense, or stroking your pet.
Focus on things that make you feel happy and supported
Instead of reading anxiety-provoking posts online, try to turn your attention to things you enjoy or find interesting. You could try taking an online course, drawing, gardening, or taking time to connect with others via video calls, remote meditation classes, or quizzes
Check your news sources and stick to the facts
Be careful where you get your news from. Stick to reliable sites such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the NHS. It is a great idea to stay informed about the latest guidelines regarding Coronavirus but choose your sources wisely.
See a therapist
If talking about the problem with close ones doesn’t help, and relaxation techniques aren’t cutting it, seek professional consultation. Since the start of the pandemic therapists and clients are regarding online availability as a necessity. Many therapists who usually only work face-to-face are now providing online support to their clients.
Make time to relax
Everybody needs to take a break sometimes. Make time each day to let your body calm down and relax to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Focusing on your own needs for a while instead of everyone else’s is necessary if you are to successfully regulate your emotions.
Look after your body
Health factors can impact your emotions so be mindful of what you eat, drink, the amount of exercise you do, the amount of sleep you get, and the levels of physical discomfort you may be feeling. Do your best to notice how they are influencing your mood and consider making healthy adjustments where appropriate.
Get a decent night’s sleep
Without a reasonable amount of sleep, it is impossible to feel healthy either emotionally or physically. Try to eliminate activities that keep you up at night. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, avoid looking at screens in bed or right before bed, and try to allow yourself 8 hours of sleep per night.
Take your medication
Not everyone needs or wants to be on medication, but if you already have a mental or physical condition it’s important to look after yourself and continue to take your medication as prescribed. Prioritise safely getting that prescription!
It may seem like the world is far from ordinary right now, but it can feel empowering to reclaim a sense of safety and a new kind of normal! Make sure to put your phone down, go through this list, and look after yourself, starting today.
A Few Words From…
Nuno Albuquerque, Treatment Lead
The current Coronavirus crisis is without a doubt a frightening time for everyone, especially for those suffering with addiction who are in need of critical care and immediate treatment. This is why we are going to every length possible in order to remain open and to provide the same standard of care, trust, love and support deserved to everyone with addiction. Addiction won’t pause during the Coronavirus crisis, and neither will we.