How to deal with your Anxieties or Depression through the COV-19 isolation period!
Well.. Who would have thought that I would be writing my first blog about coping strategies about an invisible little monster that we are having to deal with, or, that I would be writing a blog in the first place?!
For some, this is the first time you will be experiencing some sort of anxiety, however for many this is something of a daily occurrence. I am by no means a Doctor or Psychologist. However; I am someone who suffers daily from the struggles with anxiety and crippling thoughts, I am here to talk you through ways of how you can make things easier for yourself and feel more at ease.
What does anxiety mean to me?
Anxiety means different things to everyone, it is an intense feeling of being overwhelmed all the time, it is your mind being overloaded with constant thoughts, not feeling good enough. It is heart palpitations, sweating palms, feeling nauseous, numb and hopelessness.
These are just a few things that people experience when feeling anxious, don’t get me wrong, there are a heck of a lot more things that we experience. We all have elements of anxiety built into us, it’s natural and stops us doing insane things like going jumping from a cliff because your mate told you so!
However; there’s a difference between a safe amount of anxiety and an unhealthy amount of anxiety where it impedes on daily life.
Coping mechanisms, what are they?
Coping mechanisms are what we call distractions, they help take our mind off what is really going on in the World or the irrational thoughts that we are thinking, here are some examples of coping mechanisms:
Exercise – I find that walking is an amazing way to deal with anxiety, getting some fresh air and taking some time to look around you. Escape the mad rush of society and experience some fresh air, it does you the world of good. If you don’t like walking then you are able to do any form of exercise. Yoga is highly rated for coping with anxiety as it involves controlling your breathing, and escaping reality for however long.
Healthy Eating/Homemade cooking – a very underestimated way of dealing with our anxieties, healthy eating is extremely important when dealing with any mental health issues. You are what you eat as they say. If you have a busy lifestyle and find cooking homemade meals difficult then I have found it easier to batch cook meals, maybe on a Sunday and refrigerate or freeze meals that can be simply taken out and warmed through! The more excuses that we make to change our lives, the longer we will be stuck in that rut.
Lower your alcohol intake – I KNOW, you must be thinking I’m mad! But I promise I’m not. I used to use alcohol as a sort of numbing tool, however this is just another temporary fix that really doesn’t help in the long run. I know it can be difficult as alcohol does fix the problem when you’re in the moment, however you either suffer in the morning or later on when the alcohol starts to wear off.
Guided Meditation – another useful tool when combating mental health, guided meditation focuses on your senses. It takes you to another place, makes your body feel at rest and is extremely useful before bedtime to help you sleep. I am just assuming that you may be struggling to sleep whilst we have this going on! Make no doubt about it, this is a skill that has to be practiced to make it perfect, you have to try and stay focused as the thoughts will try and take over. However; like anything, the more you try this, the better it will work for you. Don’t just give up the first time you try it!
Apps - YouTube is brilliant for finding ways of distracting yourself, what’s not available on the internet? Want to learn a new skill? Take a look on Youtube, want to do some Yoga, exercise or Guided Meditation as mentioned before? YouTube! The list is endless and you can literally find something for everyone! Headspace is another great app for helping with anxiety, it is targeted for people who suffer with anxiety and coping mechanisms.
- Start a new hobby - no matter what you’re thinking of doing, starting a hobby is a fantastic way of distracting your mind. Whether this is colouring, Lego, jigsaws, cooking or baking, if you really set your mind to it you may find something that you enjoy doing. We all need to sit back and enjoy doing something other than running around in our daily lives, it’s nice to be able to have some free time to spend with the family playing games, talking and sharing thoughts!
These are a few physical things that you are able to do to control your anxiety, there are also things you can do to train your mind in how to cope. For example: People like to think that there are others worse off than them.
This is a coping mechanism that I have used in the past, it does tend to make you feel better, however be careful because you don’t want to end up with a guilt kind of feeling. It’s whatever works for you!
What can we do together?
Together we are much stronger, it is important that we speak up about our mental health and if we are suffering. I always see a lot of people saying check on your friends, yes this is important. However people cannot determine how you feel if you don’t speak up. As an anxious people, we tend to always have a smile on our faces, people cannot see behind that smile. Even just having that person that you trust can help you endless amounts!
Please, stand up and speak out!!
When times are difficult, we must see the positives! Here are just a few examples of how I have been thinking positively:
Once we get through this we will be a closer nation - we have defeated this together and we can do anything together. Not even just as a nation, but as the World!
Businesses will thrive - business will come back bigger and better than ever, people aren’t able to go out and spend. One we have been isolated from our friends and families for so long, we will want to go to pubs, restaurants, cafes, clubs, YOU NAME IT! We will be there!
Respect for our NHS workers - it’s often that you hear that NHS staff are abused and mistreated, I have the utmost respect for everyone who works with the NHS, especially in these trying times. It’s like the war, however instead of the men leaving, a lot are women nurses. (I know that we do have a lot of men also)
We will appreciate everything we have - we will have had a lot of time to really think about what matters, family, friends and socialising. Not the materialistic things in the World. Money doesn’t mean anything when you can spend it with your family!
- The World will have a break - we have already seen that the Canals in Venice are clearing, the dolphins are in Italy and the mountains are visible from China. What if the world is asking for a bit of a break? Pollution is decreasing and global warming will go down as we stay inside protecting not just only our vulnerable people, but our vulnerable planet.
If you have taken the time to read this, and don’t usually suffer from anxiety, please take a minute to spare a thought to people who struggle with these kinds of things daily. This is anxiety and together we will defeat it!
Sending so much love to you and your families in this testing time.