The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect us all.
Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic, many of our lives have significantly changed, almost overnight.
With little time to prepare physically or mentally for what was to come, and with so much still unknown about the coronavirus, anxiety levels have substantially risen across the entire world.
Our plans for travel, moving to a new house, visiting friends and family were all taken away, leaving us in isolation with extra time to be overloaded by information on the coronavirus.
Being in lockdown will have affected everyone in different ways. It’s important to remember that it’s ok not to feel ok, for most of us, these negative feelings will subside.
However, we must look after ourselves and others around us. There are some simple steps you can take to help take care of your mental health and well-being during these unusual times.
We’ve already gone through a nationwide lockdown, testing our perseverance for months, we now find ourselves in yet another lockdown. So, how to manage anxiety during lockdown 2?
Anxiety management techniques
There are some simple, yet effective tips for managing anxiety attacks. In this case, we’re looking at anxiety as a result of a second lockdown, otherwise known as lockdown anxiety.
- Talk about how you’re feeling: It’s easy to forget that we’re all in this together. It can sometimes feel as though you’re the only one feeling this way, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s completely normal to feel worried about what’s going on in the world right now. If you share your concerns with others, you’ll likely find they’re feeling the same way, talking this through can help both of you. If you don’t feel as though you have someone who you can talk to, there are many NHS recommend helplines that you can get in touch with – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/
- Keep in contact with others: Staying connecting with our friends and family is always important for our mental health. If possible, meet up with them following the latest government guidance, or stay in touch over the phone, through video calls or on social media. Now could also be a great time to reconnect with old friends, by reaching out to them, you could also help to support their mental health.
- Support those around you: Of course, when you help someone else, this can also benefit you. You never know what someone is going through so try to be understanding at all times. Is there anything you can do to extend your support to a loved one or perhaps show a small act of kindness to community groups or those local to you?
- Take time to enjoy yourself: During lockdown, we tend to stop doing things we usually enjoy. Finding a new hobby can help you to focus your thoughts elsewhere, helping you to relieve any stress or worries. If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because of social distancing, there are plenty of free tutorials or online courses which could encourage you to try something new.
- Sleep is important: Getting a good night’s sleep makes a huge difference to how we feel, both physically and mentally. It’s crucial that we get enough sleep, so try to maintain a regular sleeping pattern and avoid screens before bed, cut back on caffeine and create a peaceful environment to relax in.
- Take care of your physical health: How we feel physically has a big impact on how we feel mentally, so it’s important to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink plenty of water and maintain a frequent exercise regime. Even if you’re just going for a short walk or bike ride, getting outdoors and exercising can quickly boost your mood and help to clear your mind.
- Try to focus on the present: By concentrating on what’s happening now rather than worrying about the future can really help to improve our well-being. You may also find that practising relaxation and breathing techniques can help to relieve stress.
- Don’t fixate on the news: Whilst it’s important to know what’s going on around the world and in particular what your latest government guidance is, there is a lot of information flying around on COVID-19, not all of it true. Find a credible source that you can trust like gov.uk or the NHS website. Before becoming concerned about something you read online, on social media or hear from other people, always fact check against these trustworthy sources. It can also help to take an intentional break from social media, news coverage, etc. so that you’re not constantly reminded of it.
- Adjust your frame of mind: Rather than thinking “I’m stuck inside with nothing to do”, try to think “I finally have the time to focus on myself and my home”. It’s true that whilst lockdown has disrupted many of our plans, it has given us the opportunity to spend more time with those we live with, and to focus on our self-care. Now is a good time to slow down and take some time for yourself.
- Set boundaries at home: With more of us now working from home, it can be difficult to separate home life from work life. Try to stay organised and set up specific times for work and for leisure, it’s also a good idea to have your work ‘office’ in a separate room if you can. Sticking to your routine is a good way to manage anxiety and stress.
So, what is the best way to manage anxiety? There isn’t just one quick way of managing anxiety, some techniques will work better for some, and less for others.
You just need to make time to try out some of these ways to manage anxiety and find what works best for you.