My tops tips for managing Anxiety through Lockdowns and beyond
I’m typing this having just learned my parents probably (not confirmed but showing all the symptoms) have Coronavirus and are in self-isolation. News some of us will already have received and news that many of us will receive over the coming weeks/months.
Despite all the news it really came as quite a shock. That might sound a bit bonkers to most but it’s one of those where you don’t think it will happen to you or your family and not this quickly either.
My parents are absolutely fine and described it as a mild version of the flu (they have both had the flu jab!) but right now I’d say my anxiety levels are pretty high. Writing this blog is actually helping me hugely in that it’s keeping me focused on something worthwhile and hopefully helpful to others.
I should just start by saying that I am in no way medically trained but have spent many years finding ways to manage to my anxiety. Most of which I have been putting into practice over the past week or so.
I hope that sharing some of them will help you or your family and friends through the Coronavirus.
Focus on today
We can’t change or predict the future so try not waste energy worrying about it.
Try to ensure you’re getting lots of fruit and veg in your diet and try to avoid too much refined sugar. The odd biscuit isn’t going to hurt but packets of sugary sweets will make you feel great for a limited time and will end in a huge crash (and headache in my case!) and potentially leave you feeling more anxious.
Get some exercise
Get out in the fresh air whether it’s for a walk, a bike ride or a run. Download a couch to 5K. If I can do it anyone can!
Talk to friends and family or just be there to listen
Talking about your worries can be hard but I promise you will feel better for it. The worst thing you can do is bottle it up. If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk perhaps try the Samaritans on 116 123. Alternatively offering an ear to a friend is a brillant way to help them feel less anxious.
Delete all the news apps off your phone
Or at the very least turn off the notifications so you aren’t bombarded with information all the time. Give yourself some breathing space and time to switch off from it all. Try not to watch the news just before bed either.
Take a bath
A nice soak at the end of the day can really help to aid more restful sleep. Sally over @gettingstuffdoneinheels has also written a fantastic blog giving some great tips on how she taught herself to worry less at night. Read it here.
Read a few pages of a book before bed
No phones unless you are using it for meditation purposes! Being on your phone will only fill your head with noise.
Download a meditation app
There are lots of great meditation apps out there but my faourite is the Headspace app. I listen to it before bed but I also use it during the day when I need to.
Limit your time on social media.
We all know that hours spent on social media isn’t healthy but there is so much information being shared (much of it untrue) and again having a break from it gives your mind a break. Don’t be afraid to mute or unfollow those that are posting things that are making you feel anxious too.
Plan an interior project!
Start planning that bedroom renovation, decide on the paint colour for the hallway and go and buy that paint, order those curtains you’ve been wanting for ages, perhaps it’s even time to actually create that beautiful home office you’ve been meaning to get to for ages! Get stuck into a project to help keep you busy.
As the weather improves, we have more opportunity to get out into the garden. I love gardening as a way to switch off.
Perhaps do something for the elderly in your area by popping a note through the door of any your elderly neighbours with your phone number explaining they can call for a chat should they feel lonely or need some groceries picking up. Having someone/something else to focus on will help distract you from your anxious thoughts.
Take in your surroundings
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this but I got very excited about Spring arriving a few weeks but since the news broke around Coronovirus my mind has been so distracted that I completely forgot about it until this morning. I walked my daughter to school and we stopped to look at all the Spring flowers. If you take a moment to stop and take it in, it really does help you feel better.
My final tip is for those of you who feel a panic attack coming on.
Stand still and remember to breath.
Then focus on your feet and the sensation of your feet against the soles of your feet or the floor if barefooted.
Wiggle each toe individually from inside out or vice versa.
Keep breathing and keep focusing on those toes.
It really helps me to find some calm in a moment of panic.
I really hope this blog helps lots of you find ways through this anxious time. The uncertainty of what the future looks like is out of our hands so let just take each day as it comes and look after ourselves and each other where we can.
If you have any tips you think people might find useful, do add a comment below.
And finally please do share this blog with those that you think might find it useful.
Sending you all lots of hugs
Another blog you might find useful is a blog I wrote around this time last year explaining my top tips for managing anxiety day-to-day. You can read it here.
Further information and advice around the virus can found on the UK Government website here