All of us to a greater or lesser degree have been dealing with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. We have survived a prolonged period of stress and high vigilance, many of us have suffered from grief and loss. That could be the loss of a loved one, a job, opportunities or the loss of our friendships and support systems as we were forced to stay apart from each other.
During tough times our internal stress system becomes hyped up or overloaded and this can lead to chronic stress. Understandably we are more anxious and irritable and tired than usual. We are doom scrolling, wondering when and if this will ever end. Will we get a vaccine and when? We are in a constant state of high alert, worried about our jobs, getting covid, passing it on to relatives.
If we are predisposed to be anxious and low we will feel this even more acutely. Frustration is also another factor we have had to deal with. Many people are struggling and wondering why we can’t just get over it now that things are beginning to normalise, however here is the thing, we are reacting normally there is a threat out there and we have been living with it for a long time!
So how can we calm the part of us that has become triggered and is causing us to feel Anxiety. We could consider and accept that we are suffering from a minor level of PTSD. We could be kind to ourselves and recognise that we may not be ready to simply dive back into life, but we need some time to process what has happened to us.
Talk about how you are feeling. If you cannot attend therapy then find a friend, take it in turns to talk for ten minutes (time it) without interrupting the other person, to allow you both time to speak out your experience and emotions. Exercise and mindfulness have also been shown to have positive impacts on anxiety.
When exposed to a near death experiences, we become extremely watchful, we can begin to suffer from generalised anxiety. Be gentle with yourself, try not make demands on yourself that you cannot keep. For example, “I absolutely must not catch this virus and pass it on to someone else “– replace this with “I would prefer not to get the virus, so I will do whatever I can to stay safe”.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy teaches us that its not about what happens to us it’s about how we think about situations that is important. The way we speak to ourselves about situations and the demands we place on ourselves have a big impact. So be gently, be kind and good luck.
If you would like some additional help/therapy please contact me to arrange an appointment firstname.lastname@example.org