Updated: Oct 27, 2020
These are uncertain times. We are in the middle of rapid changes with a pandemic and don’t know when it will end, and we’re uncertain about how life will look in the future. Anxiety thrives on uncertainty. Anxiety is a natural emotion that is a response to a perceived threat. We may feel tension as our nervous system goes into the fight or flight response, preparing the body to act. Some of us may be more prone to feel anxious, or may find ourselves stuck in repetitive thoughts and worry that affect our ability to function. Now, more than ever, it’s important to find ways to manage anxiety.
Tips to Manage Anxiety
1. Stay connected to people who can support you in a positive way. We all need social connection. A recent study has found that sharing our struggles and helping each other sets off emotional systems that help us reduce our fear, have more courage, become more motivated and have the intuition and self control to act skillfully
2. Take care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health
Limit your exposure to news and social media if it starts to feel overwhelming
Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise
Try not to self-medicate by relying on substances like alcohol and cannabis to calm you
Do things you enjoy. Get out in nature.
Try mindfulness practices or relaxation exercises.
Connect with any spiritual practices that are meaningful to you
3. Show yourself compassion and understanding. Self-compassion is about accepting yourself as you are, with love and kindness. It can be helpful to remind yourself that you are not the only one that is struggling right now.
4. Accept your thoughts and emotions rather than fighting them. It is understandable that you are worried and afraid when there is so much uncertainty. When we consistently do not attend to our difficult feelings, they may take on more power in our lives. Interestingly, embracing difficult emotions like anxiety can make us less likely to get stuck in them. See the link below to a helpful mindfulness practice for working with difficult emotions. It’s called RAIN, which stands for Recognize, Acknowledge, Investigate, and Non-identify (with your emotions).
5. Focus on what you can control.
Protect your safety and that of others by following COVID 19 health guidelines.
Plan for what you can do. If you have worries about how the pandemic might disrupt your life, think about what you could do in those situations. For example, if you are concerned that schools could close and your children would be sent home, see if you can come up with a plan for that scenario. Accept that in some areas, there is nothing you can do right now.
Be kind to others and see what you can do to help them. Are there things you can do through your family, work, or volunteering that can make a difference?
For further reading, see my blogs on self-compassion, kindness, mindfulness, the healing power of nature, and acceptance.
Here is a link to information on the RAIN practice https://www.mindful.org/rain-a-mindfulness-practice-for-welcoming-your-emotions/
If you find that your anxious thoughts are becoming too much for you, contact me: https://www.oceantidescounselling.ca/contact-page