Feeling a little anxious with the ongoing pandemic — and no end in sight — turning your life topsy turvey, you might be down to your last nerve.
What you’re going through is completely understandable. It’s even physiological.
“When you’re waiting for something that’s driving you crazy — especially when there’s a threat element to it — that’s what makes anxiety so strong and that results in cortisol, a stress hormone, being released throughout our body,” says Steve Joordens (psychology professor at U of T).
Here are some suggestions for how to deal with the tense days ahead as we all wait to see what happens.
Distraction is key - Finding a way to take your mind off the present situation — and there’s a lot of ways to go about it.
For many people, focusing your mind on something else and really concentrating on it is an easy solution. That could mean concentrating on a work-related project or even a hobby you love. You’ll be getting something done, feel productive and get your mind off your present worries.
Taking a break is another way to approach the problem and will probably be more enticing. Four things that increase vitality are singing, dancing, laughter and activity. If you can somehow find a way to get a break from what’s making you anxious and engage in those sorts of activities, they release endorphins which counter the cortisol response.
So find something that makes you laugh — a favourite film, a TV show — and then immerse yourself in the laughter for as long as it takes.
Something as simple as going for a jog is really helpful. Aerobic activity leads to a positive state of mind.
Music and the nostalgia it can sometimes evoke is also a really effective way to distract yourself while chasing away the blues. Music connects us to periods of time in our lives. When we listen to a song, it has the power to transport us back to that previous time. Create a playlist that can pull you mind to another place and help lift your mood.
Sunshine is a simple solution get outside and enjoy it whenever you can. Go for a nice walk or just sit and soak up some of that sunshine and realize you still live in a beautiful world.
Finally, even though we all have to maintain physical distancing because of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean we can’t renew the social connections with those who mean the most to us. Social bonds are our go-to when we’re feeling anxious and stressed. When things get scary and tense, our family and friends make us feel safe and secure. There are plenty of ways to reconnect with the loved ones we have in our lives, both family and friends, so lean on them and vice versa to get through the next few days, weeks, months.
Reaffirming that you have people in your life who are there and they care, that grounds us all and helps our feeling of security which is being a little shaken right now.
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