The world around us has changed dramatically over the past few weeks and months, and we are unsure of when it will get back to normal. This can be very worrying and cause great anxiety and fear. This is uncharted territory, and we can find it very difficult to navigate this new way of living.
Anxiety is very real
This time we are living in is uncertain and scary. It is normal to feel anxious and to worry about the health of yourself and your loved ones. It is ok to be honest that you are feeling anxious and fearful – speak to those around you about these feelings. You are not alone in feeling this way and sharing these feelings with others can make you feel more connected, and less alone.
Find out that facts
The more you know about the virus and how it spreads, the more in control you can be. There is a lot of fake news out there, so be sure to check out reliable websites as your sources of information. It is easy to get overly worried if you are unsure of the facts, so rather know the truth and control what you can.
Know what you can do to control the situation
If you are armed with the facts, you can take precautions to protect yourself from the virus. Control what you can by staying at home as much as possible; washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds often throughout the day – especially if you have been out of the house; keep at least 6 feet between you and other people when you are out and about; and if you are feeling unwell isolate yourself at home.
There are ways to try to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect yourself and your family. Follow the precautions as much as you can.
Limit your intake of news
There is so much news around you – both on the TV and on social media. It is important to stay informed, especially as government changes policies around managing the Coronavirus, but too much news is not good for you. A constant flow of news can add to feelings of fear and anxiety. It is not necessary to be exposed to the news all day.
Limit your times of the day you check the news, and ensure your sources of news are reliable and factual. There are many sensationalist and fake news stories out there – avoid them as much as you can.
Keep connected to your friends and family
We are physically separated from many of your family and friends, but make an effort to keep socially connected with them. There are so many options available to meet up with friends online by video or by calling them. Keep your book club night via video call, or your drinks evening with your friends; celebrate a birthday together over a video call – you can still be social but just in a different way. This can help to ease your worries and help you to feel connected. We as humans need interaction, and loneliness is not good for us.
There will be days when you don’t feel like speaking to anyone but on those days reach out to a friend and check up on them. This can help you on your bad days, and it can help your friend too.
Look after your body
Stress and anxiety can be reduced by doing the simple things of looking after your body. By eating healthier foods, getting a good night’s sleep and doing a small amount of exercise every day, you can help to balance and control some of your body’s hormones.
Eating healthily helps to keep your blood sugar more balanced and can help to prevent big shifts in mood or energy. Sleep is the time when your brain heals, and getting a good night’s sleep can help to reduce anxiety and let your brain heal well.
A small amount of exercise can boost your body’s immune system, as well as produce chemicals that can lower the chemicals produced when you are stressed. Your body produces and emits serotonin and dopamine with exercise, and this helps to lower the stress chemicals of cortisol and nor-epinephrine in your system. This can help to reduce stress.
Take time to do things that you enjoy
Most of us are at home for longer than we normally would be, so it may be tempting just to watch the news and not really do anything. Use this time to look after yourself where you can. Take some time out each day to do some meditation; or read a book or try a new recipe – whatever it is, let it be something that you enjoy and that calms you. This is a difficult time we are all going through, it is important to look after yourself.
Create a new routine
Whether you are trying to work or study whilst at home, or if you are at home but unable to work – creating a new routine can help to keep control and keep you calm during this time. Routine is good for us as it brings comfort and familiarity when everything else is changing. It is good to find your new routine that will help you to carve out a new way of living, with being at home more than usual.
It doesn’t have to be a strict routine, but one that helps you to create a normalcy in this very uncertain time.
Speak to someone about how you are feeling
You are not alone in this, many of us are battling with our mental health and staying calm amidst this storm. If you find you are doing everything you can to control your anxiety, but it feels all too much, then maybe you need to speak to someone.
At The Center • A Place of HOPE we have experienced and caring health professionals who are available to speak to you and guide you through this difficult time. There is hope, we are in this together, and you are not alone.