Overnight, our worlds have changed. As a global community, we have been plunged into quarantining, remote working where possible, and home-schooling for those whose children are unable to attend their schools.
We cannot know what lays ahead for us. And that, above all else, is anxiety inducing in itself.
If you have previously suffered with anxiety, then it is likely that the current pandemic is triggering you. If you have not experienced an anxiety disorder before but are struggling right now, then you are not alone. This situation has brought us together in many ways, including a shared sense of worry.
Here are 5 ways that you can increase your coping mechanisms during home lockdown:
- Remove yourself from triggers. You might not be able to go out, but you do have the power to remove yourself from the noise of the news and similar triggers. Close your laptop, turn off your TV, and head out for a short walk. You could even set aside certain times in the day when you disconnect from tech to help you switch off from triggering material.
- Share how you’re feeling. This could be in the form of letter writing, having a long telephone call with a trusted friend, or simply talking things over with your partner at home. However you choose to share your feelings, make sure you give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling. Doing so will help to lessen the panic instincts your body is currently giving you.
- Bring yourself to the present. We can all benefit from easy mindfulness exercises each day. Simply sit in a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath into your lower belly to the count of 3, before exhaling to the count of 6. Repeat 5 times, before carrying on with your day. The resulting calm you’ll feel might surprise you!
- Keep to a routine. Anxiety feeds off of uncertainty. Remove some of the doubt by setting up your day in a schedule that suits you. It doesn’t need to be too rigid, but it does need to include regular habits and activities to help signal to your brain that you are safe in the world.
- Re-train your brain. Each time your panic starts to rise and the familiar feeling of adrenaline rush fills your body, stop what you’re doing and allow yourself to feel it without fighting it. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches this practice to those with PTSD. This method teaches the brain that whatever it is reacting to is not a threat, aiding it in keeping calmer in future when faced with the same circumstance.
Your wellbeing is key right now. If you feel you need further support, then a session with an online doctor could be the best support for you. Keep your options open, and your healthcare a priority.
Remember – this too shall pass.
Beyond this, you could be a stronger calmer person. You have the tools from this article, and the strength within you to achieve it!