Pandemic Panic? Here's 5 Free Tips To Manage Your Anxiety.
April 10, 2020
I know it is a super crazy time we're living in right now and everything seems to be out of control. For a lot of people this can trigger anxiety or at the very least make you feel a little on edge.
First of all I just want to say, this is a totally normal, human response to the world right now. You are not alone in what you're feeling and your feelings are valid.
Secondly, as someone that used to struggle with really severe anxiety and daily panic attacks, I feel you. I know this is a crappy feeling and I understand how draining it is for you.
That's why I really want to share these 5 tips with you to help you deal with the anxiety you might be feeling right now due to the corona virus.
1. Brain Dump - bare with me here!
So 'what the heck is a brain dump?' I hear you ask. A brain dump is basically just my way of saying dumping everything that is going on in your brain, onto a piece of paper or in your journal. Get it all out girl! Fill the whole page with all the thoughts, worries and to-do's that are whirring around your mind. Even the smallest, silliest things like remembering to add toilet roll to the shopping list. Dump everything on that page and keep going until you cannot think of anything else! The act of writing it all down is really powerful because it allows you to step back and visually see everything you're worrying about. Somehow, when it's written down in front of you it seems more manageable and of course means you won't forget to do anything. Which for me, was always a massive reason why I felt anxious. It was because I was trying to remember everything rather than giving my poor brain a break and writing it down. Brain dumps are great to do just before you go to bed because that way you won't be overthinking and panicking that you're going to forget something in the morning.
Brain dumps are also a great way to organise your thoughts and view them more rationally. For example, if you have lots of thoughts and worries whizzing round your mind right now about corona virus, simply by writing them down you can approach them from a more reasonable standpoint. Rather than being in the thought, you can view it with a different perspective.
2. Take a deep breathe.
I know you've heard this one a million times before but I want to give you a specific breathing technique to help you. It called box breath and it's super simple. All you're going to do is breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts (see image below). You're going to repeat this for a few rounds and as you do, you'll start to feel calmer. The reason focusing on the breathe is so powerful is because it forces the mind to shift to the present moment. It brings awareness to the body in the here and now rather than allowing the thoughts to jump to the future (aka things to feel anxious about).
You can use this anytime, anywhere and I guarantee it'll have you feeling less anxious after a few rounds. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.
3. Shake your booty - get moving girl!
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know, this girl loves to dance! And I'm not talking about cutesy, contained dancing. Hell no! I'm talking about jumping around like a crazy person in your kitchen with your Alexa blasting your fave tune until you're sweating and laughing at your own ridiculousness! Go for it! It not only will give you a giggle but it's also so good for you! It will release those all important endorphins to make you feel happy, get your body moving which is excellent for supporting your lymphatic system and general cardiovascular health AND most importantly, when you move your body, you change your mind. E-motions are literally, energy in motion. So if you're feeling anxious, stressed out, angry, overwhelmed etc, guess what you need to do to shift that energy? MOVE! I promise you will feel amazing afterwards! Dance parties (for one) are a daily non-negotiable for me, simply because they lift my vibes so much and bring me so much joy. Go on, try it! There's nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain girl!
4. Stop watching the news 24/7!
This one may seem super obvious but it shocks me the amount fo people that are keeping up with every single Corona update, every second of the day on every available channel....WHY? It's just so unnecessary and of course, is going to make you feel depressed, scared and super anxious! So cut it out babe! Now let's not get this twisted...I totally understand the seriousness of what is happening right now and am in no way trying to play it down. I am fully aware of what is happening and not just burying my head in the sand. But there is a difference between being informed of what is happening and then constantly tuning into the news (and leaning into fear and panic). So yes, maybe check the news once a day or once every few days (to be honest I rely on my husband to relay the most important updates) but don't be focusing all your attention on it. If all you consume is corona virus related, if all you watch and talk about is Covid-19 then of course it will get to you. What we focus on expands. You get to choose what energy you allow in. Choose wisely.
5. Go stare at a tree....
Okay, hear me out again because I realise I sound a lil crazy here. Science tells us that there are specific patterns (called fractal patterns) that are only found in nature, and these patterns actually reduce stress. They literally bring down our cortisol levels and make us feel less anxious and more grounded. How freaking incredible is that?! I know right now there are tight restrictions about going out and about, BUT we are allowed out once a day to exercise, so I encourage you to use that opportunity to get outside in nature if you can. If you are lucky enough to live in the country or somewhere where there are trees and some grass, then take advantage of that! Go for a walk, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and look at the trees. If you live in a city or a built up area, is there somewhere close by that you could walk where there are some trees/some grass or at least just a little green space? If there is, go there! Oh an, if you really want to boost this anxiety reducing method, then leave your phone at home. I've been going for phone-less walks during this lockdown and it's made such a difference. Rather than getting sucked into my screen or being tempted to snap pics and share to my insta stories, I'm allowing myself to just be fully present and really take in my surroundings.
I hope you find these 5 tips useful, if you do I would love to hear from you! Send me an email or drop a comment sharing your favourite tip. Or even better, share with me and everyone else any of your top tips for reducing anxiety during this time so we can all fill our toolboxes and get through this time list less stress and more calm.