As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it’s only natural that stress levels will increase. Fears for loved ones’ safety, daily changes to their normal life, the fear of the unknown, and other concerns brought about by the crisis make this a tense, strange time for us all.
But for those individuals who suffer from anxiety as a mental health disorder, the coronavirus pandemic will only exacerbate their condition further. What might have been barely manageable before the crisis is now amplified even further by this new normal?
Consequently, it’s never been more important for sufferers of anxiety to take steps to look after themselves and manage their condition. If you’re struggling during COVID-19, read on for four useful tips to help you reduce and manage your anxiety during these difficult times.
Consider anti-anxiety medication where appropriate
If you haven’t already considered anxiety medication and you are finding it more difficult to cope with your anxiety as a result of the pandemic, now might be the time to consider it.
It’s important to stress that anti-anxiety medication isn’t for everyone, and it’s crucial that you have a discussion with your doctor about it first before committing to a course.
However, if you have already taken other, non-medical steps for reducing your anxiety, or you find that your anxiety levels following the coronavirus measures have become increasingly difficult to manage, then medication might be a good option to consider.
If you are concerned about leaving the house, it is possible to order anti-anxiety medication in the UK online — The Independent Pharmacy offers a home delivery service for prescription treatments such as propranolol, upon the advice of your GP.
Make exercise an integral part of your day
Exercise is one of the single best things someone can do to reduce and control their anxiety. A good workout releases chemicals known as endorphins. These interact with your body’s pain receptors, in turn altering how you perceive pain. They also trigger an uplift in mood, not dissimilar to that caused by the pain medication morphine.
Of course, exercising while confined to your own home can be tricky. But it is still possible to enjoy a sufficient workout without the need for specialist gym equipment or leaving the house.
I’d recommend finding a series of free workout videos on YouTube. Joe Wicks, in particular, provides a comprehensive workout programme that is accessible and simple to do, and is especially useful for beginners.
If you are new to exercise, start small and don’t overreach. It is better to increase your workout slowly but surely than go all-out too early — this ensures your exercise is sustainable, providing you with the anti-anxiety benefits for longer.
Establish a set routine and follow it daily
Exercise is a great way to help reduce anxiety, but it is especially effective when it goes hand-in-hand with an established routine.
A set, consistent routine gives anxiety sufferers a sense of stability. It creates a known framework, shaping your day at a time when everything else feels unstable and unpredictable.
Many anxiety sufferers might find themselves working from home, while others are in an enforced furlough. Naturally, this is a disruption to your usual routine. But whatever your situation, try as much as possible to stick to the routine that you followed previously.
This means waking up at the same time, eating breakfast at the same time, begin working or exercising at the same time, and so on and so forth. This helps you establish positive patterns and reduce boredom.
Of course, this isn’t possible for everyone. Sufferers might find themselves with childcare responsibilities as their children are forced to stay home too. But it’s still important to establish a new routine that incorporates these new changes and stick to it as much as possible. This gives you the time, space, and above all, stability to cope with your anxiety.
Maintain regular social contact as much as possible
When you are in lockdown, it’s easy to neglect the usual networks of friends, family, and colleagues we take for granted. Without the regular interaction with people provided by normal daily life, we can all too quickly slip into our own little bubble.
But this situation can exacerbate existing anxiety. Without social interaction, negative thoughts remain in your head, amplified by the absence of any rational, third-party intervention.
Consequently, it’s vital that sufferers maintain regular contact with friends, family, and colleagues wherever possible. Hold video chats with loved ones, and schedule regular meetings to check in with each other.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to people you know, consider looking to online communities instead. The Medigy Pandemic community, for instance, lets you connect with experts, share thoughts and ideas, and receive advice on safety best practices to keep you safe during the crisis.
Alternatively, social platforms such as Reddit are perfect for connecting with other sufferers for a listening ear or advice on coping methods.
Whatever form of social contact you feel comfortable with, include it into your daily routine.
The tips outlined here will help you reduce your anxiety and let you manage your condition on terms that suit you. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in your situation. There are plenty of others like you experiencing the same difficulties, so reach out to them and face those struggles together.