Easing your Anxiety
Back in 2018 I wrote a blog called ‘Less stress, more success!’. I wrote the blog in Term 3 and the idea behind it was to help fellow students reduce stress during one of the busiest terms of the academic year. The advice on reducing stress was provided by my cousin, Ann Marie Murray, who is a Pilates instructor, personal trainer and founder of ‘AM Fitness on the go!’ (Am-fitness.ie and Am fitness on the go, on Facebook). Ann Marie trains clients all over the world, including track and field athletes and Olympic athletes, and she is an advocate for the importance of fitness and self-care. So, for this blog, I decided to contact Ann Marie again and ask her for advice on how we can take care of ourselves during the current pandemic and help ease any anxiety that we may have.
There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment and I think that most people are feeling a certain level of anxiety or stress about the current situation, so here is some useful advice, from Ann Marie, on looking after yourself during these unprecedented times…
Taking care of your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help you better cope with the coronavirus threat and the uncertainty it’s creating.
Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in everybody.
Public health actions, such as social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can cause some of the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of tobacco and/or alcohol and other substances
However, there are many ways to keep a sense of control in order to ease coronavirus anxiety, such as:
- Limit yourself to reading only from official sources, like the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds about coronavirus can intensify feelings of worry and distress. Consider taking a break from the news and focusing on your life and actions which you have control over
- Self-care during the coronavirus outbreak includes focusing on things you can control, like having good hygiene
- Where possible maintain your daily routine and normal activities, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and doing things that you enjoy
- Consider creating a daily routine that prioritises your wellbeing and positive mental health. Activities like taking a walk, meditating or exercising can help you to relax and will have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings
- Keeping in touch with family and friends. Talking through your feelings and concerns may help you deal with any challenges that you are facing
- Allow yourself time to notice and express what you are feeling. This could be by writing it down in a journal, talking to others and doing something creative
There are a wide range of measures to help you deal with coronavirus anxiety and protect your mental health and that of your loved ones. Keep in mind that this pandemic will pass and that there is always help available and, taking proactive measures can help manage your mental health during these times of uncertainty.
I, personally, find this advice very useful and I hope that it will go some way in helping others ease their anxiety, at this uncertain time.