Managing Anxiety Amidst Rise In COVID-19
COVID-19 Figures Are Rising: What You Can Do To Manage Anxiety
As the Covid-19 figures continue to rise, there is a lot to worry about: health, loved ones, job, finances, and the fear of catching the virus. But don’t let worry escalate to anxiety. Here are a few things you can do to put a lid on fear.
1. Identify your worry. Is it 'real' or 'hypothetical'? If you are experiencing hypothetical worry, then it's important to remind yourself that your mind is not focusing on a problem with an immediate solution. So, find ways to release the worry and shift your focus.
2. Postpone your worry. Worry is insistent – it can compel immediate attention. The habit of postponing worrying allows you to build a different relationship with your worries. In practice, this means deliberately setting aside some time each day – 30 minutes at the end of each day – to worry. While this may seem strange, it also means that you have 23.5 hours of worry-free time each day.
3. Notice and limit worry triggers. Most of us compulsively follow the news or check social media for updates on the pandemic. However, you may notice this also triggers worry and anxiety. So, limit your exposure to worry triggers each day; listen to the news for only a set time, or cut back on time spent on social media.
4. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion. Mastering mindfulness can help us let go of worries and return to the present moment. For example, focusing on the gentle movement of your breath or the sounds around you can serve as helpful 'anchors' to return to the present moment and release worries.
5. Find the source of the worry. Worry can arise from a place of concern. A traditional cognitive behavioural therapy technique for working with negative, anxious, or upsetting thoughts is to write them down and find a different way of responding to them.
6. Structure a healthy, balanced day. Set a regular balanced and healthy schedule, whether you are stuck at home or at work, Include activities that keep both body and mind occupied. Try learning something new with an online course or challenge yourself to learn a new language. Eat healthily, engage in a minimum of 30-minutes of exercise daily, get adequate sleep, and cut back on smoking and alcohol consumption to maintain peak mental and physical performance. Good health helps you to be resilient to change and adversity.
7. Practice gratitude. At times of uncertainty, a gratitude practice can help you to connect with moments of joy, life, and pleasure. At the end of each day, take time to reflect on specific things that brought you joy. Start a gratitude journal or keep notes in a gratitude jar and encourage other people in your home to get involved too.
8. Rely on reputable news sources. The constant barrage of news about Covid-19 can raise anxiety levels. It helps to be mindful of where you are obtaining news and information. Be careful to choose reputable sources and limit your exposure to negative news cycles that will only result in worry.
By Dr. Kayathri Periasamy, MBBS (UK), MRCP (UK), Board Certified in Int. Medicine (USA). Founder of Healthy Life Clinic
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