Anxiety is a natural human response, and for the most part normal for everyday survival.
It can be activated as a part of our “flight-or fight” response to a dangerous or anticipating situation. This is because it is our bodies natural response to danger and life preservation. This may have been most essential when survival was about running away from large animals, however in todays world a lot of our anxiety revolves around work, finances, relationship troubles and most recently health or unforeseeable world changing events-like our pandemic.
The uncertainty that we face in todays world, from potential job loss, uncertainty about one’s health, and not being able to see loved ones can have us feeling on edge, and out of control. When one’s safety (job security, financial stability, health) is placed at risk, it is easy for us to feel these feelings of uneasiness or worry. Although times may feel troubling, there are ways to manage the fears that this year has brought upon many individuals.
Recognizing Anxiety- Symptoms may include:
Excessive and uncontrollable fear or worry Increased restless, irritability, and fatigue Difficulty concentrating and sleeping Feeling of being “on edge” Shortness of breath, sweaty palms, racing heart
Coping with Anxiety
First, prioritize yourself through self-care. You would not miss an appointment with friends, doctors, or important work meetings. It is important to treat your self-care as if it were an appointment with YOURSELF! Self-care can mean different things for different people. It starts with taking care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Some things may include listening to relaxing music, going for walks/ being out in nature, exercising, reading a book, painting your nails, meditation and much more!
Shift your focus away from what is out of your control to what you CAN control.
When we feel stuck in a panic, we forget that we have more control than we think we do. Ask yourself, what changes can I make in my life that can improve how I feel? Here are some ideas:Keep a routine- Even if you are working from home, this can create a sense of normalcy.
Practice Mindfulness- Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques. Let it out! Write out your emotions, fears and concerns in a journal or talk to someone you can trust
Limit the information you take in, for example, limiting social media or news that increases anxiety, or continuing to discuss events that induce anxiety. Instead connect with your loved ones (face time, phone calls, skype, etc.) or the people around you. Make healthier choices- limit alcohol and caffein intake, eat more fruits and vegetables and move your body.
Talk to someone about your anxiety
If things feel overwhelming, or you need additional help, talking to someone you can trust can be beneficial. This can include anyone from friends, family members or a mental health professional who can help you with the tools you need to manage these feelings of anxiety.