Managing stress and anxiety during COVID
As the COVID lockdowns and other restrictions continue across several States, a large number of people are struggling with their mental health and other issues. Lockdowns in particular are extremely hard, especially those living on their own. There is no “easy fix” to feeling better about the current state of affairs, however, we have a few suggestions that may help:
- Focus on what you can do – Put together some personal plans, as well as some with your family and friends regarding the things you can For example, arrange some telephone or Zoom conversations, or some walking/running catch up times. You could also make a plan to tidy or clear out cupboards, or do some gardening.
- Channel your energies into what you can control – When we’re anxious or stressed, it can feel like we either don’t have control or that we can’t cope. “Worst case scenarios” can seem terrifyingly possible, yet we cannot control the future, so there is little point in “fortune telling” as to what may or may not happen.
- If you are worried and confused about all of the conflicting media stories currently out there, try to limit the amount of news you expose yourself too, whether it be the television, radio or social media. Gather together reliable and relevant up-do-date information regarding COVID. This will give you knowledge and facts of what you should currently be doing, and what you should do if you did ever have to isolate or quarantine.
- Take each day step-by-step – If the thought of getting through the next week or month seems overwhelming, just focus on taking one day at a time, one step at a time. Forget long-term goals for now and try to “live in the moment”.
- Look after yourself – Try to get enough sleep, eat nutritious food and avoid excess alcohol, and taking drugs. Exercise – even short walks down the road and back – can be great for your physical and mental health, especially if you have a friend or family member who can accompany you.
- Keep a routine – Try to maintain some form of routine, even if it is a very different to your pre-COVID one. For example, try to get up and go to bed at a similar time each day, as well as eating regular meals and showering.
- Be kind – In these unique times, many people will be struggling with all kinds of issues, both physically and mentally. Friends and family may act differently to usual, so try to be kind and compassionate.
- Keep in touch – Just because we can’t physically be with someone doesn’t mean we can’t keep in regular touch with them. This could be via telephone, via Zoom, or via social media such as “WhatsApp” or “Messenger”. You could have impromptu catch ups, or they could, for example, be weekly or fortnightly scheduled catch ups.
- Remember to breathe – When you feel overwhelmed, try stopping what you’re doing for a minute or two and taking a few slow and deep breaths to help calm things.
- Try relaxing pursuits – To help keep calm and focused, consider engaging other pursuits and activities to help you to relax such as mediation, mindfulness, listening to calming music, taking a warm bubble bath or simply relaxing by the fire or on the couch with an uplifting book.
- If you feel overwhelmed and that you’re not currently coping, it’s important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. There are many people currently in this situation and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help, whether it be through your GP, a psychologist or other specialist. Where help cannot be given in person, there are options such as telephone or videoconference.
The above information is of a general nature only and may not be relevant to your individual situation. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialist medical advice. If you are experiencing mental health or other issues, please seek professional help as soon as possible.