Right now, we’d have to go to the moon to escape mention of the dreaded Coronavirus.
It’s understandable that this may be causing you to feel anxious, uncertain, panicked and helpless. I imagine we’ve all felt variations of these emotions in the last few weeks, so the first thing to remember is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and this is something we are all navigating, together.
This article is about tips and strategies for managing anxiety and your mental health through this time and I will get onto that, but I feel it is important to talk a bit more about the above statement.
What the HECK is going on?
We have officially entered one of those pinnacle times that we learnt about in history. The last decade has been littered with division and fear everywhere we turn, with some pretty major and unprecedented speed-bumps and turns in the road.
As a species, as nations and as families we have many choices to make. However, some of the most important decisions we have to now make, will be how we as individuals choose to interact with our thoughts and feelings, because that will dictate our behaviour which will dictate ev-ery-thing.
So, how can we be more conscious and controlled with our thoughts and feelings?
I’ve explained in previous posts that we are all in a position to control our thoughts and how our brain responds to them. Now might just be the best time you’ll ever have, to give it a go. When you find yourself scrolling through Facebook getting more and more scared because of all the posts written by – no offence – people who are not trained or informed enough to comment, will you fall further down the rabbit hole or will you CHOOSE to stop and CHOOSE another more productive or beneficial way to spend your time? Use this free screensaver as a reminder to always keep your focus in a good and healthy place.
Recently, whenever I have chosen to go online, check the news or the news feed, it is because I am desperately searching for good news. This is human nature. The caveman in us seeks progress as a survival instinct. Right now, there is some uncertainty coming our way and it will be like that for a while. This is hard for us to swallow especially in 2020 when the speed of everyday life is 100mph. Acceptance can set you free, fighting something inevitable will only lead to frustration. Accept this is the way things are FOR NOW and focus on what you do have control over, i.e. your mind (see above point).
We’re all on a rollercoaster of emotion at the minute. Speak to someone. Sometimes just saying your thoughts out loud can help you realise when they are irrational or exaggerated. Sometimes people offer you a different perspective which can be endlessly helpful when you’re stuck in cyclical and negative thinking. If you feel you don’t have someone you would confide in, then please, email me; firstname.lastname@example.org
What works for you? Write down 5 ways you know you like to relax. Don’t mentally note to do this later, take 30 seconds and DO IT NOW. Keep this list on your phone or on your notice board, somewhere you see regularly and practice one of them everyday and even more when you’re feeling anxious. Is it a hot bath? Reading a book? Binge watching something? Baking? Cooking? Exercise? Yoga? Meditation? Talking to a friend? Listening to music? Dancing? Praying? (p.s. nothing I’ve suggested here will be out of bounds, no matter what restrictions we’re placed under. You know what that means… no excuses.)
There are so many people turning to the online community to share their fun workouts and ways to keep active whilst at home. Here are a few of my favourites, and they’re all FREE;
If none of this is your idea of fun, go for a run or a walk outdoors, which is totally still allowed!
It has been proven that doing things for others can be helpful when we are experiencing anxiety. This is for a few reasons such as; we feel useful – this reinforces our feelings of capability, we get a primeval, hormonal surge from making others happy and we experience gratitude for our lives when we appreciate what other’s may be going through. Join a local group online to see if anyone could use assistance during this time or help people you know, even the smallest things can make a big difference.
Are those 5 minutes of screen time before you fall asleep turning into 2 hours of panicked scrolling? Me too. Put down your phone for 2 hours before sleep. Sleep is vital to stress management, mental health, physical health and immunity.
Gratitude is an amazing way to re-frame a situation in our minds from negative to positive. It can literally change the shape of your brain and strengthen the areas which give us happy thoughts. It’s not an instant change and takes practice, so start today with this Gratitude Journal!
I hope these will be helpful to you. Stay safe and take care of each other x