Management of personal anxiety during covid-19
Over the past two months, we have witnessed unprecedented fear in the world.
It's hard to imagine that a few weeks ago we were all shopping and the shelves were full and we could go for a coffee, meet up with friends for a meal or a drink.
Such change is a shock to our system and takes time to process. COVID-19 is the type of situation that we can only respond to by understanding that it is something we can all contribute to by doing the right thing in our own families and communities.
We can change the way that we respond to the requirements of living differently, that is being forced upon our lives.
Our worst behaviour or reaction is fuelled by fear. Fear and anxiety reduce our immunity and balance. Fear fuels other emotions like anger and aggression - all affecting our ability to make rational decisions.
We choose the way we react. Either, we choose to react positively or negatively with fear and frustration, or choose to practice balance and peace; this is a personal choice that will take time to bring into our being. It will impact on others either positively or negatively, depending upon how we ourselves choose to process and then respond in the days ahead.
There are positive alternatives to establishing our day that helps us to maintain balance and connection that can generate the feelgood factor within us. This is infectious and provides positivity to those we connect with, either at home or using other methods.
We must never undervalue the importance of self-care to maintain our maximum level of positivity. We cannot throw someone a life jacket until our own is firmly in place.
Two of the most vulnerable times of the day can be early morning and evening. However, the times of day when you are most vulnerable, could be very different for you. Identify where your clinch points are during the day. Then as you plan your day they can be considered with a degree of priority.
We can all be creatures of habit and this often serves us well, however, rigidity and inflexibility are something to be avoided generally. A routine in life is good, but when we become a slave to that routine it, it no longer serves us. The key is to remain open to change as a challenge and opportunity, this will bring a new dimension, with new ways of working and dealing with our world of work, people, family friends and community.
Planning to stay positive
- Firstly, take time to allow yourself to process what is going on around you and how you feel.
- Be real, write it down, look at it and then leave it until another day. Really get down to what you feel and how this is affecting and impacting on different areas of your life.
- A journal is a good way to get thoughts onto paper out of our headspace. You can later revisit and review or revise them as time moves on.
- The same will work in pictures, media or images to enable you to describe what you are feeling.
- After this stage, it is essential that you locate where in your body you are feeling your anxiety.
- Then it’s time for you to make some space for you; do not push thoughts and feelings away, let them be as they are. Gently observe them see them as they are, or you might want to visualise them as a shape or an object.
- Then turn your attention to your breath. Breathe into that space of anxiety using your own natural breath, not forcing or changing the breath.
- Allow your breath to intentionally soften the anxious space.
- If your mind begins to wander gently bring your concentration back to your breath. You can extend your inhale and exhale at this point, whatever feels natural for you.
The above stage is absolutely essential as a foundation for the following stages:
- Have a daily planned routine with built-in flexibility. Choose what you feel is the best time to exercise in a given day. This may well be a mix of walking or running outside (Government guidelines permitting), with some indoor activity planned. It can work to suit whatever else you prioritise for that day. The key here is to remain flexible, about what you do and when and where.
- For other planning decisions, some might be hard decisions that you find stressful. Take a few deep breaths and take some space before you decide what you are going to do. Sleeping on a decision, can be an amazing revelation. The key here is to let your thoughts go for a while, don’t do it to death by overthinking it. Turn your attention to something different and enjoyable.
- Service to others: when we give, we receive - that is an absolute!! Start with your family, your partner, neighbours and friends, a text or e-mail or skype session that brings people together, out of isolation at a safe distance. Small intentional acts are very significant.
- Limit the amount of news you view in any one day, to the facts and the informative briefings or information you might need to use to make decisions. The internet is demanding of our time and space, we need to bring this under our personal control and follow essential guidance in practice.
- Socialisation: virtual coffee, chats and drinks together with friends, family and others, both groups and individuals in the community.
- Sort out and declutter-those spaces in the home that need your attention.
- Be aware of those around you - under the current guidance it is impossible to call round or visit, however you can make a telephone call, or speak from a distance through an open window.
- Know your clinch points - those times or situations that cause you to feel most vulnerable. To carry on regardless at those times, is not always the best self-care response. You may need to step back in order to refuel; we can not continue to give of ourselves and ignore our self needs.
- Listen to your heart space rather than your headspace at these vulnerable times for you. Our heart was created before our brain and therefore holds more wisdom and guidance.
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