The unexpected turn of events in our society has resulted in policies and procedures that are being enforced at a rapid pace in order to sustain our personal and mental health. These events have generated a mixed bag of emotions; fear, sorrow, uncertainty, loneliness and anxiety. It is important to remember that these emotions are not only normal but also vital to our daily functioning. Anxiety in particular, alerts us that we need to take action to bring ourselves back into balance. In other words, anxiety is a protective instinct. It does not always feel comfortable but it is also not dangerous. Symptoms of anxiety include but are not limited to the following; insomnia (trouble sleeping), increased heart rate, fatigue, restlessness and irritability. When we choose to honor the intelligence of our anxiety, we reconnect with ourselves and consequently reduce the distress associated with anxiety.
The following are coping mechanisms which can be implemented to not only help alleviate anxiety but also help us to reconnect with ourselves;
Take a mindful walk (keeping in mind the social distancing rule) and reconnect with nature or engage in activities that promote relaxation such as listening to your favorite music. Paying attention to the moment brings us to the present thus reducing the ruminating thoughts which cause anxiety.
Use this time to organize your closet, photo albums (remember those). These tasks give us a sense of control.
Reconnect with a hobby which you have not had time to engage in lately or learn a new skill; learning to play the guitar, learning a new language or that book which has been on your nightstand that you’ve been meaning to finish. The use of our brains for new activities stimulates creativity and calm
Pay attention to your diet. Certain foods and caffeinated beverages increase anxiety.
Keep a log of your anxiety responses and your coping mechanisms which you can review with your therapist so that you can develop a personalized menu for strategies to cope with anxiety