4 Ways To Manage Your Anxiety During a Pandemic
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. As a teenager I'd pace the living room at 2am with my heart beating out my chest, not completely sure what was wrong with me.
It took me until I was twenty to realise I had been experiencing panic attacks for the majority of my life - once I had realised this I was able to seek help and control them.
With everything going on at the minute, it's been a little more difficult for me to control my anxiety attacks, however I do have some tips that do help relieve them! I hope this helps if any of you are going through a difficult time!
Remember that you are not alone
It is so easy to fall into a state where you just want to be left alone, and sometimes this can be a good thing. We all need some down-time! But if it gets to the point where you are bottling up your emotions and ignoring phone calls and texts from friends, you really need to reach back out to them. Let them know how you feel. You will be surprised that a lot of your friends and family are feeling anxious too. Remember, the people that love you most will never judge you, they will try their best to help.
If you don't want to speak to your friends and family about what you're going through, you can also text SHOUT to 85258. You will be able to speak to a trained crisis volunteer, who can give you free, confidential support and advice. They are available 24/7 and you can text them in England, Scotland, Wales & Nothern Ireland.
Be easy on yourself
Remember that some days will be better than others, and it is completely OK to do nothing but relax and stay in bed if this is what you need to do in order to overcome your anxiety.
We tend to be harsh on ourselves when we feel like our day hasn't been productive, or we feel like it's been wasted in bed. Do what you need to do in order to survive, don't let pictures of peoples morning jogs on social media make you feel bad for having a lazy day.
There is no way to 'cheat' or 'hack' anxiety, especially when we are in the middle of a pandemic.
Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming.
– Robert Tew
Practice calming / breathing exercises
One thing that really helps me during a panic attack is breathing exercises. You can do them throughout the day, to calm and ground yourself. There are many different breathing techniques and everyone is different, but I find relaxing videos really help, especially when I'm trying to sleep.
I will use videos like this video here.
These videos will typically tell you when to breathe in/out. Following the instructions really help for me when I have an attack, because of how much my brain goes to mush!
A lot of people also find focusing on an object can help. Find something in the room you're in that stands out, describe it to yourself in detail, as though you're telling a story. Focus all your energy on this object and nothing else, you may feel the panic slowly begin to leave your body.
Spray a familiar smell that calms you down
This may seem a bit random, but it really helps me. Because the majority of my panic attacks happen at night, I use a Lavender spray that helps you sleep. Breathing in the scent of Lavender can be really calming. I have found myself drifting into the most peaceful of sleeps when I spray it in my room and over my pillow. This may also work if you spray a scent of a loved one, anything calming/grounding should help you. Take deep breaths in and out whilst doing this.
Please remember, you are not in this alone! Be proud of yourself for getting up each day - even if you sit and do nothing. You're surviving and that is all that matters!