As Northern Ireland announces the first death from coronavirus, anxiety levels may be rising among us.
It is normal to feel anxious and stressed in these times of troubling news headlines, and on top of our previous tips to help you cope, there are more ways of lessening feelings of panic and despair, and to help us through the continuing crisis.
Let’s begin by being as calm, wise and kind as possible to each other as we take positive steps to look after our mental and physical health.
There are a number of things you can do to help tackle the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as the simple 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique. Name five things you can see; name four things you can feel; name three things you can hear; name two things you can smell; and lastly, name one good thing about yourself.
Deep breathing exercises can also help you manage stress levels and relax your body if you feel burdened by anxiety.
The use of essential oils can also help you tackle moments of anxiety. By keeping some close, in your pocket or bag, you can use them whenever you need a distraction from feelings that overwhelm you. Lavender oil can also aid sleep when you go to bed.
Music can also help you in times of stress. Listening to a repeated sound of between 35-65 bpm – including soft and relaxing instrumental music – can help slow the heard and reduce the amount of cortisol that your body produces in times of stress.
Items known as Grounding Props can also help. They are items you can carry around with you that you can hold in your hand at times of stress and which can help bring you back to the present moment. For example a keyring, a favourite wallet photo or inspirational quote or a keyring – it’s your choice.
Getting out into nature is a great way of boosting your emotional well-being. A daily dose of nature, even if just ten minutes out in your garden or any green space, lowers stress, improves mental focus and reduces tiredness.
There is an exercise known as the ‘Three A Day’ which prompts you to choose three small positive actions to complete each day. You can choose whatever you want, from drinking more water, walking a certain distance or simply getting up out of bed at a certain time – again, it’s up to you.
Social distancing and self-isolation
If you are self-isolating and find yourself at home, there are so many things you can do to help fend off boredom and to lessen the chance of getting stressed or anxious…
More help is at hand:
Anxiety UK https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/products/anxiety-condition/health-anxiety/health-anxiety-fact-sheet-instant-download/ Contact Anxiety UK by email ([email protected]) or by calling the helpline on 03444 775 774 between the opening hours of 9.30am – Public Health Agency’s Minding Your Head service at https://www.mindingyourhead.info/
Mental Health Foundation – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Aware NI are also offering online support groups – https://www.aware-ni.org/how-we-can-help-you/aware-ni-online-support-groups.
Samaritans – 116 123
Lifeline – 0808 808 8000
Childline – 0800 1111
There are a number of free Apps which can also help alleviate stress levels, including: