Anxiety and the pandemic

Anxiety and worry can be extremely draining and debilitating and the worldwide pandemic hasn’t helped matters. A recent survey by the WHO (World Health Organisation) shows that Covid 19 has severely impacted the demand for mental health services.

If you are feeling anxious then here are 5 tips that may help you.

1. Remember; your thoughts = your feelings = your actions and behaviour. If you feel yourself getting anxious, then try to identify what thoughts you are or were having before you started to get anxious. Capturing those thoughts and stopping them can act as a pause button for your anxiety. If you can stop or change the direction of the thoughts then you can impact the way you are feeling which can then affect how you behave.

2. Once you are aware of your thoughts, remind yourself that your anxiety in and of itself is not useful and will not change the outcome of what you are worrying or anxious about. Anxiety at a particular time about a particular thing is usually quite narrowly focused but if we can try to look at the bigger picture, we’ll see that the eventual outcome of what we are worried about is not going to be changed by our anxiety.

3. Take action – Anxiety can be useful if it prompts us to take action or make a plan where this is possible. Ask yourself is there anything I can do to help this situation? If there is, sit down and write down a plan of what you can do and how you think you can do it. If need be, discuss with friends and family who can support you. However, sometimes, we are anxious about things we cannot control e.g. the pandemic or being in lockdown. In this case, we need to accept that this is outside of our control, our worrying or anxiety will not change anything but just make us feel unwell and instead we can try to change the narrative in our head by identifying a positive or an alternative to worry that may make us feel better. So with lockdown, accepting we are limited in what we can do but we could look at a new hobby, read more, go walking, take up yoga, painting, spend more time with loved ones, learn a new language etc.

4. Journaling can be a powerful tool in helping us to get rid of unwanted emotions. Writing down how we feel and what makes us anxious allows us to express with more clarity how we are feeling. Looking back on past writings can remind you how past anxiety on certain issues did not help which can stop you from ruminating on the same things again. Writing down how you feel can be a way of expressing difficult emotions such as anger and rage without the risk of conflict

5. It’s good to talk. Bottling up your emotions will only make you feel worse. Find someone that you can talk to about how you are feeling. It is normal for us to worry about being vulnerable and telling people how we feel but it is only through being vulnerable and honest that we can truly live an authentic life.

Finally, remember you are more than your anxiety, Anxiety is how you feel not who you are. #MentalWellnessSupport #mentalhealthblogger

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