I have always been anxious about all kinds of things, but after my daughter was sick after birth this really became a problem. It was no longer something I could control or talk myself out of. In the past couple of weeks my anxiety has once again gotten out of control. I know I am not alone with having Corona Virus Anxiety. In fact I expect most people have at least some level of concern or worry, but what I have noticed on social media and with my friends is that many people are experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety for the first time. So as an old hat of dealing with, the time stealer that is, anxiety I thought I would share my tips to help you deal with Corona Virus Anxiety. Please be clear I am not a medical expert and not a psychologist. I am just a woman who suffers with anxiety and has developed some ways of coping that might help you too.
CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
Before I get started with my top tips for managing Corona Virus Anxiety please do remember that mental health is important and not to be trivialised. So if you feel like you need to speak to a professional then do. I know I have in the past couple of weeks
11 Tips to help with Corona Virus Anxiety
- Be kind to yourself – When my anxiety reached fever pitch I was actually annoyed at myself as I felt that I was slipping backwards and being stupid, but this is of course nonsense. It is normal to feel anxious in this insane scenario so be kind to yourself and concentrate on trying ways to ease the symptoms of anxiety.
- Rest – this really helped me. It is entirely exhausting being on the verge of a panic attack all day long and no doubt you have not been sleeping properly either so I recommend resting as much as you can. Sometimes it is easier to sleep during the day when it is busy around the house. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but the world always seems less daunting when other people are awake too I find.
- Watch mindless TV – when the anxiety symptoms and whirring intrusive thoughts begin I always reach for that remote control even in the middle of the night. I am not suggesting you catch up on the latest thriller as you don’t need any more tension or suspense in your life right then. No, instead I suggest finding a TV programme that does not require you to think, but is lively so that it occupies your brain. For me the reality shows like the Real Housewives work a treat for this. All the drama and craziness is all consuming so there is no space in the brain for all the anxious thought and yet these programmes are essentially very light hearted. If you can’t stand stuff like that I suggest finding a comedy that you enjoy and see if that works. Amazon Video are offering a free trial at the moment.
- Limit social media – I love a bit of social media, but if you are feeling anxious about world events then it is not your friend. Lets be honest there are a lot of people chatting nonsense on social media and the corona virus is no exception to this rule so if you have corona virus anxiety I don’t think getting your information from social media will help. For some reason Twitter and Facebook seem to be the worst for fake news and scary corona virus stuff. If you still want a social fix then I think Instagram is your best bet at the moment as there are lots of images of life going on and people finding the positives
- Limit news consumption – It can help to be informed about what is going on, but spending hours trawling news sites and reading countless frankly terrifying accounts will not help. I have limited myself to one check per day and then I am only looking on one site which simply reports statistics and not opinion. This really helped me as there is no sensationalism and you can see how many people are recovering etc… not just the negative news
- Exercise – you may not feel like doing it, but any exercise you can do will improve your overall mood. Exercise is proven to boost serotonin levels in the brain and this increases your feelings of happiness and well being so getting some exercise is definitely worth it. At home you can do youtube workouts or just do your own thing. I have been trying to do something everyday and at times when I can be sure it is quiet I am going for a run to get a break from our four walls.Home Work Out Equipment Ideas
- Talk it out – Although we are all social distancing or even in lockdown we can still talk to our friends and I really recommend finding a rational friend to talk to. Chatting with someone also feeling super anxious may not be so helpful.
- Distract Distract Distract – finding things to do that will occupy your mind can be hugely beneficial when anxiety is taking hold so whether that be sorting out that cupboard you have been shoving things in for years, playing a board game, reading a book or just playing with the kids find some things that distract you and keep as busy as possible whilst still allowing yourself time to rest when you need to. If you have kids this should be an easy one to achieve as no doubt you are currently trying to home-school them and probably working too.
- Meditation – this is something that I find extraordinarily useful in my battle with anxiety. I am not able to do it alone so I use meditation tracks from itunes to give me that guided meditation that I need. There are meditations specifically for anxiety and those to support you getting to sleep. I highly recommend giving it a try. Meditation techniques are also really helpful in the middle of the night when you wake up worrying. I just pop on a meditation and I am able to get back to sleep.
- Grounding – this may not be the technical name for this technique, but it is what I call it as when my anxiety is spiralling it is grounding that I need. Being connected to the here and now and not to the catastrophising about what might/ could happen is necessary to reduce the feeling of anxiety. So what I do is firstly breathe; I concentrate on breathing in and out and say to myself ‘ breathe in, breathe out’ then once that is under control I look around me and say out loud 3 things I can hear and 3 things I can see. It brings me back to the here and now and helps to calm me down. Seeing and hearing life carrying on is very stabilising.
- Focus on an activity – I have talked about distraction and meditation, but another thing I find useful is focusing on something intently. This might mean journaling each day, baking or colouring all of which require you to focus and anything that causes focus will serve to occupy the brain. I have found that occupying my brain with anything other than corona virus is hugely helpful in easing my corona virus anxiety.
I hope that these ideas help you to ease your corona virus anxiety at this impossible time. One last thing don’t drink alcohol when you are feeling anxious. Even if it feels like it helps at the time it really will feel worse afterwards. Remember I am not a medical professional and am only sharing my own experience with managing my anxiety. If you are concerned about any of the thoughts that you are having or feel that you cannot manage your anxiety please please contact a doctor. They really can help you.