So, word up to vulnerability for the win!
I am so glad that I have been open about living with anxiety. The chance I took in being more open about it, has made it possible for others to reach out for support and connection especially now. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I know it feels reassuring to speak to others who know intimately, what it means to struggle with it. During times like these though, the anxiety beast rears it’s ugly head at those of us who may not have even identified as chronic sufferers before...
"...there are times when world events bring forward even greater uncertainty in daily life, which in turn can make us even more anxious than usual. The coronavirus outbreak is one of these times for many people"
Everything seems so uncertain and scary. Daily tasks have become feats of willpower. Keeping kids motivated and grounded is like several full time jobs in one. So I thought I would share some things I have been doing to keep my anxieties in check, COVID stylez:
1. Give Yourself a Break, Bruv – Don’t expect too much of yourself. Whatever emotional day you are having let yourself have it. There is a whole list of things that are not normal right now, your heart and mind need time to process it. Nap, walk, journal, call a friend, cry at the grocery store (yep, I did). The silver lining of this time, is that there is no instruction manual. No fast and hard deadlines to what you should be doing with your time at home. The best thing you can do is take the pressure off, even for a few moments a day.
2. 'Groundhog Day' – Try to stay on some type of routine. It’s hard to do but it has been a real saving grace for me to set my day to a rhythm even if it’s an abnormal one for now. Try to include at least one thing you can look forward to in your daily routine so it's not all chores and 'to-dos': a before bed express yoga session? A few minutes of book reading time? Dessert and tea on the porch after dinner?
3. Stay in your friends DMs – But also stay out of them. Online, all the time, is stress inducing. Even in normal circumstances. Right now, you don’t need to hyper read the news or Stacey’s highlight reel. I keep checking the news at a BARE minimum and make sure to read up on local updates ONLY when it's time to leave the house. This keeps me safe and up to date on what is happening locally, but it doesn't have any invasive effect on the day to day worries I am already trying to manage.
"The gut-brain axis is also very important, since a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut"
4. Get Food in Your Belly – Break up with little Debbie and leave the brownies alone…ok, well not entirely. But eat healthy! Try to do your best. At the very least, drink your water. You have all the time in the world to keep track of that now. Sugar crashes and large amounts of bread products are not your friends when you are trying to maintain equilibrium. The memes 'I've-been-eating-so-much' memes are funny, but mental health and digestive and dietary balance are inextricably linked. Pigging out all quarantine will leave you worse for wear when this is all over: and I don't mean just physically.
"Physical activity may be linked to lower physiological reactivity toward stress. Simply put, those who get more exercise may become less affected by the stress they face"
5. You better Work it Out! – Exercise, I know, I know you feel like crap and don’t want to…do it anyway. A good walk or workout sesh' can work wonders. You gotta sweat so you can get to rest. Endorphins are happy chemicals released by exercise and tiring out your muscles and body during the day is a great way to ensure better and more restful sleep! There is every sort of workout imaginable, free on YouTube! Modified work outs for those with certain injuries to work through (bad knees, back etc.), routines for beginners to advanced. There are also a tremendous wealth of apps out there that are free and effective in tracking your progress.
If you feel in real crisis or need help, call your family doctor.
You can also head over to camh.ca for more info and reading and AnxietyCanada.com