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Managing stress and anxiety during Covid-19

Woman looking out the window; managing stress and anxiety

During this uncertain time, you may find yourself worrying about a range of issues coming up and feeling increasingly overwhelmed or anxious. Not being able to engage in your usual routine can affect your mental health and you may notice difficulties in motivating yourself or a drop in your mood. You could also be worried or anxious about things like money, family, whether you have the virus or work. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that others are feeling it too. Anxiety and worry affects us all but may be more prominent at this time.

Why do I feel anxious and worried?

Fear, anxiety and worry are understandable and inevitable emotions. It is our natural response to difficulties. Think about worry as a form of self-talk in our minds where we air out our current problems; it helps us make decisions and take actions to problem solve. Feelings of anxiety and worry can be a good thing as they act as current thoughts that require attention, for example, having to wash your hands after going out or touching surfaces and keeping a safe distance to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

When does worrying and anxiety become a problem?

When we start thinking about the future or things beyond our control, our emotions can become difficult to tolerate. These are also known as the ‘What if…’ scenario. When we feel anxious, adrenaline is activated in our bodies warning system resulting in anxiety symptoms. We may find the more we worry, the more we are anxious and a pattern of worry and anxiety emerges.

Whether we are anxious or worrying about the future or the present moment, there are some things we can do to help manage these thoughts and emotions.

Pause and take a moment

It is important to take a moment to yourself when you start experiencing feelings of anxiety or worry. If you are in the middle of doing something or in the presence of other people, excuse yourself and find a space where you can pause, breathe and take a moment.

Observe and 5-minute rule

You may or may not know what has brought up the feelings of anxiety and worry so it is important to understand why you are feeling the way that you do.

Take five minutes to think and write your worries down. Then decide which ones you would like to act on.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I worried about?
  • What am I reacting to?

Pull back

Once you have unearthed how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who is experiencing the same thoughts and emotions. This will help put your thoughts and emotions into perspective and will help you take a step forward into overcoming them.

Know everything will be okay

Be safe in the knowledge that if the feeling of ‘What if…’ occurs, you can solve it as you have with other difficulties.

Helpful resources

Managing stress and anxiety during a pandemic: online workshop

Talking Therapies are offering a one-hour online workshop to discuss tools to help support you during this time, including, managing worries about Covid, looking after yourselves, coping with the increased uncertainty the pandemic presents and evaluating the information you read about Covid.

If you’re interested in attending this online workshop, you will need to register to our Talking Therapies service by completing this form. You can also call the team on 020 3317 4200 or email [email protected].

This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2020 Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 21st July 2020

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training