Top tips to help with anxiety during the covid-19 outbreak
Wow, what a challenging time we are facing right now for all of us. The constant noise from the media is enough to spark fear into anyone. News is changing daily, panic buying across the UK, travel bans and conflict of information all feeding fear within us. Below I am sharing top tips to help with anxiety, during this difficult period and what we can do to help our mental health when working from home.
1. Create healthy news habits
With constant new updates and social media, it’s no wonder anxiety levels are on the rise. Fear feeds fear. Try and limit the time you spend on social media and use your time to check in on a friend or neighbour instead. Yes it's very important to keep up to date with the news, but try and limit yourself. Look at your notifications and apps and delete or turn off any that are causing anxious thoughts. Check official channels such as the NHS, gov.uk or the World Health Organisation (WHO) for updates, as the information provided by these channels is trusted and backed by science.
“Health anxiety is driven and maintained by constant information checking,” Dr Arroll says. “Limit interruptions in your day by switching off alerts from your news app.”
2. Put everything into perspective
Learn how to change your self-talk and ask yourself questions such as; What is the worst case scenario? Is this really true? What can I do to protect myself and my family? What can I do to have fun today?
Self-talk (intrapersonal communication) is the way your mind speaks to you in all situations, from daily routines to difficult life events. It is the inner voice that can either encourage or chastise you. The good news is, by listening to your inner dialogue and shifting it to become more in line with what you really want, you can transform your life.
Observe the self-talk you do on a daily basis. For an entire day, make note of the way you self-talk in any given situation; pay attention to both positive self-talk and negative self-talk.
Decide what type of self-talk you want to hear. If you want to be more positive, look at the various situations throughout your day and see how you can change your perspective of them into something that will be positive.
Catch yourself whenever you begin to self-talk in a negative manner. By recognising the tone, you can shift to a less stress-inducing thought pattern.
Work on managing your self-talk every day. It is a learned process and it does take time, so be patient with yourself.
Figure out what type of positive self-talk will encourage and motivate you throughout the day and then strive to stay in that frame of mind. Start your day practising gratitude.
Discard self-talk that is self-defeating or projects anger. Negative self-talk can make a situation seem far worse than it is, causing unnecessary stress and potentially more conflict.
Although COVID-19 is a serious illness, at present the death rates are much below that of seasonal flu.
3. Practice self-care
If you want to have peace of mind, it’s important for you to practice self-care daily. This could be taking a walk, using aromatherapy and taking a hot bath, listening to your favourite music, starting an online course or starting a new hobby.
You may find yourself working from home. Here are my tops tips for keeping a routine for home workers and those that need to self-isolate:
- keep a daily morning routine. Get dressed, brush your teeth and pop makeup on. If you stop doing these things then you could be putting your mental health at risk.
- Stay connected to people via the internet and social media.
- Practice daily gratitude and use meditation. Learn to connect with your inner self to help with peace of mind and feelings of calm.
- Start an online course.
- Start a new hobby such as crafting.
- Start a journal and mind dump your thoughts every day. Always end your thoughts on a positive.
- Keep a bedtime routine.
- Take breaks by going for short walks outside or spend time out in your garden.
- Structure your day.
- Choose a dedicated working space.
It’s important that you stay connected to loved ones and keep communication going. If you aren't able to speak to family or friends, there are confidential support groups you can call for help with all areas of mental health. Or, you may want to consider talking to a private therapist. Many now offer online and telephone sessions to support you through this time.