The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us into a completely new and difficult situation. It has been several months now that everyone’s freedom has been more or less limited. We cannot live life exactly how we used to. There is constantly a fear and uncertainty of how the situation is continuing to unfold.
This can be very stressful for a lot of people and can cause severe anxiety, even in people who have not had it before. In this blogpost, you will find out how to deal with anxiety. You can also learn more about how to improve your mental health state during this time in our lives and get practical tips.
Perhaps the hardest thing to deal with for many of us is the constant uncertainty. The coronavirus situation changes on a daily basis and case numbers continue to fluctuate. This leaves us wondering when all of this is going to end, and when. In order to stay rational and keep the anxiety from growing too big, it is important to stay informed of what the situation is in your own community.
However, it is necessary to stay critical of what you read and believe on the internet.
- Only use sources that are trustworthy – don’t create unnecessary panic for yourself by believing everything you read online
- Limit your time on social media – if you start to get overwhelmed and developing anxiety because of what you read and see on the media, contemplate if you can limit your social media consumption to around 30 minutes or an hour every day.
- Don’t check the news obsessively – this habit can only fuel your anxiety and won’t do any good in the long run. A better option is to ask someone who you know you can trust and ask the newest updates from them.
Maintain your relationships
Staying connected to the people you care about is one of the best ways to handle anxiety. Try to meet up with your family and friends (don’t forget to follow the latest government regulations and advice on social distancing!). Feeling connected and having good relationships are basic human needs, so by nurturing these you can improve your overall mental health.
If you are unable to meet anyone in person, calling them or having video calls is a great alternative. There are lots of platforms available to have meet-ups with your whole family, for example. You can organize a get together with you friends on Zoom, or even chat with your pals while watching your favorite Netflix show!
There are many opportunities to stay connected to the people you love, so don’t forget to do that even if it might seem difficult at times.
However, if you are in a situation where there is no one you can keep in touch with, there are plenty of services available. For example, this helpline in Finland provides confidential help for young people aged 12-29. You can call them if you experience loneliness or want to discuss things that bother you. Remember not to stay alone if you face any troubles and need someone to talk to.
Stay active and take care of your health
As you might have heard before, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. This is certainly true when it comes to dealing with anxiety. The way we feel physically also affects how we feel emotionally and mentally. Being stuck at home for long periods of time can lead to unhealthy habits and patterns. Such things are eating unhealthily, lack of exercise, irregular daily rhythm and so on.
Small things can have a big impact on your physical wellbeing, and simultaneously on your mental health. Do little workouts at home or go for a walk outside to get some fresh air. Doing something active can give you a much-needed boost of energy. It also works as a way to distract yourself from harmful thoughts.
If you feel intense anxiety, one of the most effective ways to try to tackle it is by taking control. Try to shift your focus from things that you have no control over, to things that you can control. You can have more control over your own behavior.
Focusing on the present rather than worrying about the past and the future is also something that everyone can have control over. It is a way for us to improve our wellbeing in a holistic manner. Simultaneously, it helps to deal with challenging emotions that are fueling anxiety.
Do something you love
Do you have a favorite hobby? Or is there a relaxing activity that you like to do, perhaps?
Focusing on something that is not provoking your anxiety is the simplest way to deal with it at times. When you redirect your thoughts to something you enjoy doing, the anxiety won’t feel so overwhelming anymore. This is not a long-term fix for handling anxiety, but sometimes it can be the easiest way for someone who only experiences anxiety for time-to-time. It is also a good way to nurture your mental health.
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