Things are strange. No doubt about that.
On top of that, if you’re someone who already suffers from anxiety, you may be feeling even more overwhelmed.
Anxiety can lead to overthinking, panic attacks, stress, lack of sleep, depression and a host of other fun symptoms, that can get even more intense during isolation.
It’s important that you know that anxiety at this time is totally normal. Anxiety occurs when we focus on and worry about the future. Right now, the future is very uncertain, so it makes sense that you may be feeling anxiety around what’s going to happen over the next few months. Sometimes knowing that other people are experiencing the same overwhelming emotions can help to normalize your own feelings.
Other than knowing you’re not the only one experiencing these feelings, what else can you do to combat those intense emotions?
Managing Anxiety in Strange Times
First things first, breathe.
Carve out time in your day to sit and breathe deeply. You can call it meditation, you can call it a breathing exercise, it’s just a few minutes of uninterrupted deep breaths to calm your nerves and ground yourself.
I know this sounds simple, but it’s a really easy way to reset the body, especially when your brain starts spiraling.
Pull Back On the Caffeine
I’m the first to admit that I’m addicted to coffee. It’s how I start my day and sometimes I feel as though I would barely function without it. But, it doesn’t exactly help with my anxiety. Caffeine can cause increased heart rate and give you a surge of energy that may make you feel more on edge than energized.
I’m not telling you to erase coffee from your life, because that would make me the biggest hypocrite of all time, but check in with your body and ask yourself whether coffee is serving you or hurting you today. Switching to tea for a day or two isn’t going to destroy you. It may even make you feel better.
Limit Your News Intake
It’s important to stay up to date on the latest information and guidelines, but there’s no need to check in on the news more than once per day.
The same goes for any social media feeds that give you anxiety. Unfollow or mute those accounts until we’re on the other side of this madness. There’s no need to add stress to an already stressful situation.
If you’re anything like me, listening to the news may seem comforting. You want to stay as informed as possible and know how to protect yourself and your family, but if you find yourself compulsively searching for new info that just isn’t there, it’s time to reign it in and limit yourself to one daily news update.
Remind Yourself What Is Real
When I have anxiety, most of the stories I’m telling myself are fabrications or extreme versions of what the future may hold, many of which will never come to pass. So, it’s important for me to sit back and remember what is true in the moment.
Anxiety can carry us away to a whole other world where any number of horrifying things are possible, but what is actually real? Make a list of what is true in the moment without mentioning anything that COULD happen. Only what is. Sure, reality may not be all peaches and cream, but it’s a lot better than the scary stories we tell ourselves.
What Do You Have Control Over?
Take things day by day and only do what you can. Look for the things that you do have control over. What time you wake up, go to bed, who you reach out to, what you wear, what you read, etc. Make clear decisions on the things you can control so you feel like you have more autonomy over yourself and the situation.
Many things may feel out of your hands. Do what you can in each moment and be forgiving with yourself when you don’t have control. You can only do so much. Some things will only be changed with time and patience, which I know is super frustrating, but I promise we’ll make it.
Anxiety isn’t a quick fix. It’s a constant battle to keep those thoughts at bay and not let them get the better of us. Hopefully these tips can give you a hand in managing anxiety when you feel it rearing its ugly head, which it will definitely do over the next few months as everything is sorted out.
Stay healthy and take care!
For information about how cannabis can help manage your anxiety, read our guide to cannabis and CBD for anxiety.