How to cope with anxiety during a crisis – from an anxious person

About six weeks ago I had very suicidal thoughts.

I genuinely believed I would be better off not here. That it would be better for me, not only then did I not have to worry so much, but it would be better for others as I was a constant burden for them.

Luckily for me, those who know me well knew something was wrong on how I responded in conversations and via messages.

They helped me see that I was valuable and through this, I opened up and went to seek 1-2-1 therapy.

Whilst this is now on hold as face to face is banned due to COVID-19, I’m finding that a lot of my friends and people I know are anxious, for the first time.

The uncertainty about life, the virus, jobs, and family are whirring around their heads in an endless loop.

So, I thought I would write some coping strategies that I’m using now when anxiety is at the ultimate high for a lot of the population.

Exercise

It has been a huge part of my life for 7 years.

I’m a bit lazy sometimes in doing extra workouts outside my personal training sessions but for me I need this to keep sane.

It doesn’t mean you suddenly start doing weights or running when you never did before. It just simply means…moving.

I get anxious leaving the house without purpose, for me going for a walk or run doesn’t come easy but I forced myself to on Sunday (Mother’s Day) and the rest of my day was much better for it.

I did a 30 minute workout in my living room, got my heart rate racing, it helps you to feel alive!

You don’t have to be outside during a lockdown. We also have gardens so use them!

Grounding

Find something to ground yourself. Even if it’s to breathe. If you are feeling overwhelmed it’s okay. Take a moment, sit down, breathe and focus on the physical aspects of it. It helps to ground your thoughts.

Another way to help with grounding is to keep a diary or journal, write one new thing you did that day for 30 days.

It could be, removing yourself from a toxic relationship, avoiding a gathering because you prioritised your mental health.

In 30 days you’ll notice a huge difference.

Social Media

For too long I’ve compared myself to others and made myself feel inadequate because my numbers and ‘followers’ weren’t high enough and brands weren’t reaching out to me to collaborate.

About a month ago I logged off all social media and my phone app usage went down from 5 hours a day to 1 hour a day.

I noticed that I had started calling people, video calling so I had human interaction and generally sleeping better without being on Instagram or Facebook every evening before bed.

Who knew a month later the rest of the UK would follow suit, in terms of how they commute via phone and video calling for business and keeping in touch with loved ones!

I think subconsciously I was gearing up for lockdown before anyone else.

News

I got anxious two weeks ago about coronavirus before the rest of the UK started taking it seriously.

I warned people to be careful if one person or persons could do that to Italy that it resulted in lockdown then the UK was no different.

The arrogance of people to this pandemic has been really eye-opening as to their character.

Two weeks ago I read everything, every new piece of news, about all countries infected, every new death and I realised all it was doing was causing high anxiety.

I started to limit my intake of news, from official sources and whilst everyone is still talking about it the fact that there is a practical lockdown means we now have some sort of plan and that calms me.

I for one refuse to put anyone else’s life at risk, including my own by not listening.

Self-motivated therapy

We all have a passion, something we love to do.

It could be reading, writing, baking, crafting, running, whatever it is, use the free time to work around what you love to do.

For me, it’s writing and working out so I fit these into my life. Even if it’s a bit of content for my social media

I plan my day loosely, yesterday I sorted my paperwork out, I have it sorted into an organiser, something that I would have procrastinated with for months and now I feel much better for it!

Talk – but to people you trust

If you are lucky to have friends and family who have been there for you without judgement then do reach out to them. Talk to people, even in a quarantine state we are more connected than we have ever been.

We live in an odd time, a time none of us have experienced, but that doesn’t mean we cannot reach out.

The messages and calls I’ve had over the last few days have been really uplifting, considering my family are 100s of miles away much needed contact.

Hopefully, for those who haven’t really taken mental health seriously and are now experiences signs of it – they will be more mindful once this is over for those who suffer.

What you are feeling is how we feel on a daily basis, pandemic or not.

My DM’s are open on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter for anyone feeling overwhelmed and wanting to rant at someone who will understand.

Have a good day xo

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