Dealing with Lockdown / Pandemic Anxiety

Back in March I found myself having a pretty sinking feeling. It is that feeling in my stomach that you just can’t shift, can’t relax, and leaves you feeling uneasy. Things were so up in the air that I just had that horrible anxious feeling. Being a small business owner really was hard at the time; if we had to close, how would be pay staff? I couldn’t afford to do that with my own cash. What about the children at school? There were so many questions.

Luckily, a lot of that got sorted out, and we got answers about closing our business and furloughing staff. The schools closed, but were really supported with school and the work that they provided us with. Everything stopped and although busy, I had work to do and homeschooling, things slowed down a little as there was nothing else that we needed to be doing or places that we needed to go to.

Fast forward to now and I can feel myself having that anxious feeling again. It is really awkward, with many things still feeling unknown. It isn’t even an anxiety about getting sick or anything like that, but more of an anxiety about things locking down again. Will we be allowed to furlough staff again if it all happens again? My poor kids, I honestly don’t know what they’d have to do with more months of me teaching them. Although there is always a little bit of this feeling with me, I have been taking charge in order to reduce this anxious feeling, and make sure that I can live life to the fullest (even when things are so uncertain).

Allow myself to feel what I’m feeling

One thing I have learnt that doesn’t work, is just dismissing my feelings. Just trying to push them to the back of my mind doesn’t do any good. So I have been learning to embrace how I have been feeling, and accept how I’m feeling. It is natural to be experiencing higher than usual levels of anxiety. Acceptance is not something that is an easy task. But I know that if I treated my friends the way I treat myself, then it wouldn’t be a good friendship.

Starting to challenge negative automatic thoughts is something I am learning to do more and more. We all have such thoughts, but if they become overwhelming, and especially when they’re very negative, they will go onto increase anxiety, and decrease self-worth and self-esteem, so it is a cycle to get out of.

Improving Low Mood

I am no someone who has formally begin diagnosed with depression, but I have been around a number of people who have been. I know that if you are feeling this way, then one thing to check is sleep patterns. This plays a huge part in how we feel each day, and for me, my sleep has been awful of late! I am normally the kind of person that can sleep literally anywhere, and at anytime! To help my sleep, and therefore help a feeling of low mood, then exercise has been a go-to for me. I work with a personal trainer, and she has a number of online classes that I can playback and do when it fits me, and it does really help. Half the time I don’t really want to do it, but I always feel better after I have done it.

Being outdoors helps me a lot too. I love to be outside, and just going for a walk helps me. I am used to things being so busy though, so I often need to have some music on to listen to, or a thought provoking podcast. When I can focus in on something else and not think my own thoughts for a little while, it helps me to learn something new and have a bit of escapism. Plus getting in some vitamin D is always a good thing!

I also know that the relationship that I have with food plays an important part. I have had time of my hands to meal plan, and I even lost two stone in lockdown. But now things are a bit busier and getting back to normal, I just can feel things getting worse (low mood, lacking time, and energy means craving junk). But when I do eat well, I honestly do notice the difference.

Practice Self-Care

I know that ‘self-care’ can just be a bit of a buzzword, and something that we hear quite often. But it is something that helps me with my anxiety. One of the most neglected relationships is the one that I have with myself, which is what self-care is all about improving. If you’re not sure what to do, then you need to think about what you need on a certain day, in order to feel good.

When I’m feeling anxious, worried, or overwhelmed, we can be overthinking, so it is time to stop, slow down and just be in the moment. This definitely helps me to self-regulate and calm me down. Being active, being outdoors, having a bubble-bath and reading a book, all help me. avoiding the news is a must for me, as well as shows like This Morning and Loose Women, that are just varied opinions that aren’t facts. Those can just make me spiral.

So, eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, and keeping active are essential for me in maintaining a healthy and happier mind; they all impact each other.

Have you been experiencing lockdown anxiety? It would be great to hear what you think.

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