Dr Clara O'Brien
Tips for coping with COVID19 Anxiety
These are strange times that we live in. Coronavirus has arrived quickly and had a dramatic impact on all of our day to day lives. Many people are experiencing increased worry about coronavirus and its consequences. Here are some tips to help you cope with those worrying thoughts:
1. It is normal and natural to experience some degree of worry in response to this. Acknowledge those feelings, take a step back and notice when those thoughts happen.
2. You might feel that things are out of control at the moment. Focus on things that you can control, like choosing to look after yourself or doing something enjoyable
3. Take care of yourself – eat well and get some fresh air. If you are isolating try to sit by an open window or go out into the garden if you can. If you can’t get outside in the daylight regularly then consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
4. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about what you are doing or how you are feeling. This is a time for compassion towards ourselves as well as others
5. Keep active. Make sure that you maintain your normal levels of exercise. If you are isolating do some exercise indoors, take a walk around the garden or join in with a yoga or exercise on YouTube if you can.
6. Sleep well. If you find yourself lying awake then get up for 20 minutes then go back to bed and try again. Keep a regular sleep routine.
7. Try and stick to a daily routine. If you are isolating then try and get up and go to bed at the same time. Try not to work sitting on your bed – this is for sleep only.
8. Take breaks from the news or social media if you are feeling anxious, or only check these at certain points in the day rather than looking at it all day long. Listen to music, read or watch a film instead.
9. Think of other ways of staying connected to other people – this might be a video or Facetime chat or telephone call if you can’t meet in person
10. Follow the government advice on self-isolating and social distancing and If you have a pre-existing mental health condition make sure that you continue to follow your treatment.
If you feel overwhelmed then take a moment to try and get in touch with your senses. Try the following:
· Take a few deep breaths in and out, noticing how your chest or tummy rises and falls with each breath. Close your eyes if you want to and as you keep breathing:
· Gradually start to notice what you can hear. Can you hear traffic, birds, a clock ticking?
· Notice what you can smell and feel. Do you feel warm. Are you sitting comfortably? Are you holding tension in your body? If you are, take another deep breath and let that tension go.
· Come back to your chest and take another two or three deep breaths
You can find more resources at:
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-depression-anxiety for advice on coping
YouTube for video yoga sessions and workouts
www.mindful.org for free audio mindfulness exercises