Social distancing, quarantine, and the lockdown are all new to us and can trigger a yearning for the usual routine we used to have. Suddenly, we have been stripped of all the daily things that we are used to doing, and we have this 24 hours to ourselves, and we don’t know what to do with it.
This new changes will cause a lot of people to get worried and anxious. During these times, feeling anxious could be normal. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some in their life. If you have been feeling really anxious of late, here are some tips on how to cope with anxiety during this pandemic.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are in danger. Anxiety is an intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. It is the body’s physical reaction to fear and stress. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms. Anxiety can have both mental and physical symptoms. It can also often lead to depression.
What are the symptoms of Anxiety?
Mental symptoms can include:
- Racing thoughts
- Uncontrollable over-thinking
- Difficulties concentrating
- Feelings of dread, panic or ‘impending doom’
- Feeling irritable
- Heightened alertness
- Problems with sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Wanting to escape from the situation you are in
- Dissociation (feeling like you aren’t connected to your own body, watching things happen around you without feeling it.)
Physical symptoms can include:
- Heavy and fast breathing
- Racing heartbeat
- Hot flushes or blushing
- Dry mouth
- Hair loss
- Extreme tiredness or lack of energy
- Headaches, dizziness, and fainting
- Stomach aches, nausea, and sickness
How can you cope with anxiety during a pandemic?
If we find ourselves manifesting some of the signs of ‘abnormal’ anxiety, here are ways to cope with anxiety:
- Plan your day: Make a schedule of what you intend to do. Accomplish it within the day from the time you wake up to the time you sleep. It will give you a sense of direction.
- Maintain a routine as best as you can: Even if you are stuck at home, try to stick to your normal routine of regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Take time out for the activities you enjoy: Take out time to do something you enjoy doing. Read a book, watch funny movies, sing and listen to music, develop a new recipe, practice your craft, sing. Doing something you enjoy doing will take your mind off your worry.
- Get busy: Do not just sit-down idle doing nothing, get busy, be creative, develop a new hobby such as gardening. The little piece of land at your backyard might come in handle during this period. Like the popular saying “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” when you are less busy and idle, you are likely to become anxious about the happenings around. Getting busy will take your mind off things. It fills up your daily time with activities to do. Do some chores or organizing around the house.
- Exercise: According to WHO, A sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world because it increases all causes of mortality, doubles the risk of all non-communicable diseases. Engage in some other form of physical exercise and avoid sedentary life. Exercise has been found to improve mental health and relive one of stress, anxiety and put one in high spirits. You don’t have to visit a gym or have expensive equipment to exercise, exercise such as walking around your home, Walking up and down your stairs, jogging, running, dancing, skipping rope can go a long way in improving your mental health.
- Avoid substance abuse: Substance abuse known as drug abuse is the use of a drug in amounts or by methods, which are harmful to the individual or others. Be careful that you are not using alcohol or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid it for now. Also, avoid self-medicating, especially of our common pain-relieving drugs such as paracetamol, panadol, ibuprofen or any kind of drugs that can easily be gotten over-the-counter. Abuse of these drugs will actually be doing more harm than good to your body.
- Take up a relaxation practice: Take up relaxation practices to relax you when your thought is going out of control or when you are stressed, anxious and worried. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, Prayer, meditation, and your hobbies such as listening to music reading or cooking can bring you back into a calm state of mind. The regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
- Avoid anxiety-provoking activities: Anxiety provoking activities this case is inclusive of watching bad news repeatedly such as watching situation reports of COVID 19. Avoid anything that triggers your anxiety. Simply redirect yourself to focus more on something else entirely anxiety provoking such as reaching out to others, using social media to connect with loved ones, and make new friends, do some work around your home, or engage in an enjoyable activity or hobby.
- Be mindful and know when to retreat: It is essential to avoid fake news or misinformation as they are designed to trigger stress. Be aware as well, when negative thoughts creep in, he adds. “We will never believe [our thoughts]. Don’t scare yourself. ” This is the time of mindfulness, he reminds the public. “We have to be mindful of the way our mind works and the way we handle our mental activities. We have to know when to retreat and do something else, so we do not get overwhelmed. ”
However, if these continuous feelings of anxiety affect your ability to carry out your life as normal, you could have an anxiety disorder. So, consult your doctor for proper treatment.