Remember last week when I talked about my fight with anxiety, well I can only imagine that many more are going through it but for different reasons of course. We may not be conscious about it but every day when we wake we are in dread because so much has changed and we were ill-prepared for it. Let’s break it down.
1. Prolonged uncertainty: I remember right at the beginning of lockdown we were told it would be for just 3 weeks and yet here we are, in the ninth month of the year and we are still under lockdown.
We remain unsure of so many things, whether things will ever go back to normal or masks are about to be our new normal. We don’t know if we will see our families or if we can still realize our dreams.
2. Ambiguous loss : it’s the intagible things that we have lost that have added to our anxiety. We have lost the way we lived our lives before Corona hit, the boundaries between work, school and home, our plans went down the drain be it travelling plans or wedding plans.
3. Anticipatory grief : I was talking to a friend the other day and I realized that there has been so much loss of life this year. I have typed too many condolence messages this year.
Because we have been surrounded by this atmosphere there is also the issue of not knowing whether we will survive or not. Then the thought of surviving but losing our loved ones comes into play and it also cripples us.
WHAT TO DO?
1. Pay attention to what you are paying attention to – I became obsessed with the numbers at one point, I wanted to know then daily and I realized it was weighing me down.
The news and social media have so much going on, you need to be careful with what you consume daily.
2. Go outside – I was terrified of leaving the house because of my pre-existing condition but then staying indoors also led to me into what was starting to feel more like depression so, I took a risk. Turns out it isn’t so bad outside! (Please take precautions seriously)
Take a walk, grab some ice cream, or chill in the park for just an hour or so. Once a week is enough.
3. Exercise – it doesn’t have to be anything intense, small things like stretching and deep breathing as part of your morning routine will help you a lot. Getting your body relaxed is one of the best ways to kick anxiety’s butt! Read more about exercise and how it helps you here.
4. Identify your feelings – I know we think it’s better to just stay positive instead of addressing our feelings, nope! Real positivity is in addressing the feelings, so grab pen and paper and write down what you are feeling and why you are feeling.
For example, I feel helpless because I can not protect my family from the virus. If this is what you are feeling then you know you can not control what happens to your family but you can flip that feeling into a positive one, gratitude. Say out loud, I am grateful for their health and my health.
5. Stay in contact with people – call your loved ones, text them, email them! If there is anything we have learnt this year is how fragile life is, so distance shouldn’t be a barrier. Send that love! We may not be able to hangout as usual but get creative, have a zoom movie night or something.
The most important of all is having a set morning routine and evening routine that allows you to relax and be mindful. Take time to yourself to practice self-care and like I always say, be kind to yourself. You and I have no control over this pandemic, but we can choose to take care of our mental health. Remember that. CIAO!∆