If you are like most people in Melbourne, the uncertainty that Covid 19 brings is creating a lot of anxiety. It is normal and okay to experience challenging emotions during a pandemic. If you are struggling to find a break from anxiety, it is important to have a few strategies to help you get through.
1. Recognise anxiety is not good or bad
Try not to think of it as “good or bad”. It is a natural response in which the mind and body prepares for responding to a perceived threat.
The unknown and sudden change that lockdowns bring seem threatening. You may assume the worst when you are unsure about the future, which will naturally feel scary. So try to acknowledge that anxiety is a sensation felt and is more of a notification of perception.
2. List your anxious thoughts
By listing your anxious thoughts it can reduce the intensity. By listing a thought it can help separate it from ourselves and reminds us that it is not permanent and can pass.
When you are anxious due to Covid, it could be from a range of things that are overwhelming. Frustration, loss and anger are a few responses. Try making a list and see if it reduces your stress.
3. Focus on the “here and now”
The changing nature of covid creates a level of uncertainty. By focusing on the “here and now” we can bring ourselves to the current present.
Some ways to do this include:
Downloading a mindfulness app like headspace or calm. These apps have a few podcasts to help ground your thinking and become more mindful
Trying to ground yourself in your senses – slowly name things you can see, hear, feel, smell or taste
4. Put routines in place
Covid can impact normal routines of work, school and social activities. However it is important to try and create some sort of routine where possible.
They can give a sense of stability, even in uncertain times. For example you can structure your day around:
- walking or exercising
- eating regular meals
- having consistent times to wake up and go to bed
- planning time in your day for ‘focus’ on work or other projects, and other times for rest
5. Plan enjoyable activities and connection
If you’re in lockdown or limited in what you usually like to do, fun and connection can be difficult to come by. But enjoyment and social connection are important for reducing anxiety. Make sure you get enough of little activities as simple as:
- watching a TV show at the same time each day
- having a regular phone call with a friend
- making a new meal
- Taking a new route on your walk
6. Limit the intake of Covid news
If you find that reading news or updates makes you anxious, it may be helpful to limit your media intake. Most media platforms do like to sensationalise the truth so best to stick to more reputable sources if you do want to have minimal updates.
7. Trust your ability to manage tough times
Try to remember the previous tough times you have been through before. Take a time if needed to write down a few big events. This can help ground you that you will get through current and future tough times.
8. Be kind to yourself
You are doing the best you can. Try not to judge yourself or compare to others. Take time to acknowledge what you have achieved.
If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to someone you trust or a service that can support you.
Beyond blue 1300 22 4636