Monday, May 18, 2020

7 Tips for Keeping Anxious Thoughts at Bay During the Lockdown

GUEST POST - In our everyday life, it's a challenge to keep anxiety at bay. It's especially challenging to not worry during this crazy and scary time. Without being able to go anywhere to change up your environment and take your mind off what is bothering you, keeping anxious thoughts at bay during the lockdown and moving through an anxious experience is critical. 

Here are 7 tips for how you can ease your anxiety during the lockdown: 

1. Establish a routine and stick to it. 
Many of us have a daily routine that was completely turned upside down when the lockdown happened. You need to set up a new routine because routines can establish a sense of normalcy through all this insanity. Sticking to it and taking comfort from the predictability of a schedule, even if it's a new one, can help ease your anxiety.

My new schedule: housewife and mom all day; writer/blogger at night.

2. Free your mind by moving your body. 
To help prevent anxiety and even while going through an anxiety attack, moving your body is especially helpful. Physical exercise is a way to use up all that nervous energy. If you are feeling anxious or restless you can, for example, distract yourself by firing up a few fitness apps you can use with dedicated challenges, such as a 30 Day workout challenge on 30 Day Fitness, as well as HIIT workouts you can do in your home or garden. 

3. Keep your space clean and tidy. 
Your physical space can be a physical representation of anxiety or stress. Clutter can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, as you feel that there is "so much." Keep your space clean and tidy for your mental health. As you clear the physical clutter, you can help to reduce the mental clutter, too! 

4. Try meditation. 
Meditation is a helpful practice to help reduce anxiety and to ground yourself. There are many apps available, such as Insight Timer and Headspace, which give you the option of guided meditations, music, courses, etc. You can also simply practice deep breathing and focusing on your breath. 

I meditate while I do my 15-minute LED light facials. Face prettified, mind cleared!

5. Do not obsess on news coverage. 
The news these days is really upsetting. From incompetent government response and the mounting death rate all over the world to COVidiots who still defend their corrupt leaders and think that the pandemic is a hoax, the coverage is definitely anxiety-provoking. While it is important to be informed, reading numerous articles about the same thing or reading the ‘fear’ stories can really take their toll on your mental health. Choose to only read news from credible media and to limit your exposure to it by turning off social media and doing something else.

6. Find a creative pastime. 
Creativity is a wonderful outlet for all that energy. A common phrase you’ll hear from artists is that their art is where they "get it all out." Your creative pastime is not something you have to be a professional in, but rather one that you enjoy to let your creativity out and get in a state of flow. For example, you could try painting, sketching, writing, photography, crafts, and even rearranging your home décor

I've been cooking, learning how to shade and sketch, and play the piano.

7. Stay together even as you stay apart.
One sad thing about the novel coronavirus is it isolates us from our family and friends. When you feel alone during a scary time, this can add even more stress. It's crucial therefore to maintain contact and connection with your loved ones. Call them up, chat over Messenger, do Zoom calls, or send thoughtful emails.

If you're doing all these and still feel weighed down by worry, seek professional help if you feel the need. Many mental health practitioners are stepping up even more during the pandemic to offer accessible mental health services. If you feel the need or would like additional support, connecting with a professional can be a powerful experience as you manage your own anxiety. 

* This guest post was written by Mary Davis, a freelance editor and copywriter.

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