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Anxiety Mental Health

How to manage your anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic

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Because of the current situation, there are a lot of unknowns in our lives for anyone not just those with anxiety.

Whether we still have a job…. constant changes to your work hours or location… never knowing if you’d be able to get the shopping you need. 

The list goes on. 

It’s enough to make anyone anxious and if you already have anxiety you’ll likely be feeling ten times worse than usual! I know I am. But there are things you can do to help you to deal with the increased anxiety the coronavirus is causing.

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1# Plan/Organise Ahead of time

In the last few months, since launching my blog, I have discovered the value of organising my daily tasks etc. 

Before this, I was basically ‘winging it’ which ended up with me being completely 

unorganised and doing things when I thought of them.

That seemed to be working ok for me until the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Suddenly my work hours were changing daily, appointments were either been changed or cancelled and I just didn’t know whether I was coming or going.  I then happened upon a post about how to organise your time and started putting it into practice. 

I now have a whiteboard at home on which I write any appointments, dates things need doing by (such as renewing library books) and when was the best time to go shopping. I also have a version of this on my phone so that when I’m at work etc. I can update it when needed. 

Although there are still many things that you can’t plan ahead for, having at least some things planned out makes a huge difference as it reduces the number of uncertainties you’re dealing with.

Check out this post by Suzi Whitford (startamomblog.com) she has some really cool planning and organising tips. 

2# Prepare for times when you know you have to head into a potentially anxiety-triggering situation

I hate shopping. 

The thought of having to deal with loads of people with trolleys and baskets getting in each other’s way etc. makes me feel ill. I felt that way before the current situation, so now shopping is an entirely different but still stressful experience.  

On the one hand, there are limits to how many people can be in the shop simultaneously, which means it’s quieter but on the other hand you’re now having to remember the various safety measures in place. 

How I deal with this is by prepping for the trip. 

Listening to music via earphones is my main way of easing my stress levels so if I know I have to go shopping I make sure my phone is charged and I can access the music. 

I also ensure I’ve got my shopping list ready and up to date. I don’t drive so I also plan how I’m getting it home i.e. walk if it’s not a lot or using public transport if it’s too much. 

Having these preparations ready means that I feel as though I’ve armed myself ready for what I have to do. So where possible try and prep for the thing you know is going to make you feel anxious or stressed. 

Think about the event and what it is about it that makes you stressed or anxious and think of ways you could reduce that (such as music in my case)

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3# Limit how often you read about the current situation

We’ve all done it. 

Some major event happens (good or bad) and we can’t help but be glued to our TV’s, phones etc. watching the same channels for any update no matter how small. 

The trouble with this though is that doing this can make you feel on edge, stressed and of course anxious. You feel as though you’re always on tenterhooks waiting for the next bit of news. 

At the beginning of this, I did exactly that. I was constantly checking YouTube for new videos from the news, the prime minister and the government and a whole host of others. 

I was getting loads of emails about it and I read every single one even though many had the same information.

I had a constant feeling of dread and felt on the verge of panic. 

There is too much out there right now to make our anxiety worse and so the last thing we need is to make it any worse for ourselves. Now I only check for a news/government update in the morning or if I have to go out to work (in case lockdown measures have changed) 

I also don’t talk about it all of the time. Those closest to me understand why and since it helps them not be as stressed they’re okay with limiting how much we talk about it. 

Set a limit for yourself about how much and how often you’re going to check for information and stick to it. Explain to those around you that you don’t want to discuss it as often as you are and again set a limit for how often you talk about it. 

For example, whenever I speak to family or friends we discuss it briefly at the beginning and then move on to other things. Sometimes we won’t mention it at all. It all depends on how we’re feeling and whether we have new info to pass on or discuss.

4# Talk through your anxiety with someone you feel comfortable with

Talking about your anxiety (the feelings, worries etc it causes) has always been important in helping to control it. But it’s even more important right now. 

You may not be able to talk about it with loved ones depending on how they’re coping with the situation but there are options out there. Many of the helplines run by charity organisations (such as the Samaritans) are still running. 

There are also many websites offering support for people struggling with the impact the current pandemic has put on their lives. 

If you’re looking for someone to talk to, check out my support page for a list of resources. 

If you can talk with family/friends about it then you could arrange a time each day for you to talk through what’s happening and by doing so you’re getting support but you’re also giving support as well. 

There are numerous apps and sites offering things like video chat if you want a more personal chat rather than just a phone call. 

Companies such as Skype, What’s App and Facebook messenger all have a video chat function. 

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