Dealing with anxiety toolkit

Recent events and social panic have made me reflect on how difficult it is to manage strong feelings when there’s so much tension and chaos in the field. It’s no surprise that so many of us are experiencing a peak in anxiety.

Here’s a very short summary of how to deal with anxiety and what to do if you feel like you’re overwhelmed.

🌿Acknowledge your emotions.
Notice and express what you’re feeling. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or upset, among a wide range of other emotional reactions in the current situation. It is OK to feel what you’re feeling, it matters. We’re all having a human experience and it’s pretty traumatizing and scary. Validate that.

🌿Keep a mood journal

This is a way to mindfully check in with yourself, instead of just having the thoughts run wild in your mind. Everyday just check in with yourself and take a note. What is your fear on a scale from 1 to 10? What about anger? Instead of judging it, just be aware and curious of what it is.

🌿Breathe
I wish people took breathing more seriously. It sends messages to your brain that you’re OK. That helps your mind and body relax. When we send signals to our body that we’re relaxed, we let our body know that we’re safe.
To ground yourself in the present moment and escape the fears and fantasies of the unknown future, try different techniques. They allow you to land in this moment, this place. And this moment, in this place, is the only time and place where we have ever chance to find peace.

*If you feel that you’re losing control, breathe in for 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total
*5-4-3-2-1 exercise: name 5 things that you can see, 4 things that you can hear, 3 things that you can feel, 2 things that you can smell and one thing that you can taste.
*Practice meditation. Try body scan meditation, Vipassana, Mindfulness, Zen or Wim Hof style- whichever feels best.

🌿Move your body

Get out of your head and get into your body.
Every thought that enters the mind eventually finds a place in the body where it bears the burden.
Tensions in our bodies do accumulate! If you feel emotions in your body, make space for them. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Doing exercise or practicing yoga regularly is a big thing.

🌿Identify triggers

Worry is the cognitive element of anxiety. Set boundaries around media consumption. Analyse how does it FEEL when you watch media coverage about current events and what impact does it have on you.
Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day once or twice.

🌿Reach out to people

Social distancing does not mean emotional, social isolation.

Don’t isolate yourself from your support system. In fact, let’s turn up the connection, the vulnerability, let’s check in with the people we care about the most. Now it’s the time we need support system. And if your support system is lacking, check social media. Connect with people around you, anyway you can.
Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.
Working together as one community can help to create solidarity. We’re in this together!

Also, look at your language. How much drama is there? Try being mindful about not adding fear and anxiety to other people’s lives. Mind your drama language and try reporting facts without adding hysterical content to it, there is already a lot of that out there. It’s a tiny thing you can do- be a calming influence.

If you feel you’d like to share, chat or receive support, please reach out- there are many of us. 🙏
Online counselling works really well.

Read the full mental health WHO guidance here:

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0HtEhNmqCTGyOUBal2OI6w85ockwxGY-1fyAJvWd5Qrkxh2SdAuE4paBg