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How I am dealing with anxiety during COVID and lockdowns

28/11/2020

Since the pandemic started in March, now some eight months later no one saw the escalation of social distancing and confinement. Personally, I was not expecting this level of seclusion or life on hold situation. Yet, here we are. When I moved to France over the summer, I naively thought there would be some kind of breakthrough and this would be all over. My husband and I both agreed that we should not put our lives on hold for something like an illness, now more than ever we should live the life we both dreamed of.

Deep into my second confinement, I am starting to wonder how this is affecting not only me but the world around us, mentally. Sure we have our outlets in the form of television, books, and the horrid day after day updates on the never-ending Covid-19. I am finding it increasingly hard to have a positive outlook on the world around me. My own situation, albeit is a whole lot different from others, I feel worlds apart from myself.

I am not complaining about moving to another country, other than a few things beyond my control, I wouldn’t change a thing. Now back to what I was talking about, uprooting my life adds another level of stress and worry on top of this confinement situation. For me, I am worried about getting sick. What if I do? Where will my kids go? Will, they let my husband come to France? To help with this situation I have talked to officials, and I’ve talked to my husband. We have our bases covered there.

This all got me thinking. If I am feeling this way now, only a mere eight months into this whole virus scare, what am I or all of us going to be like when this dark cloud has finally lifted? Are we going to be afraid to go outside? Are we going to want to live life the way we used to? What about those who are suffering from depression or anxiety? I am sure this is exacerbating their symptoms.

How strange will it all feel when we are allowed to be free again? For me, I am worried my anxiety will get worse. Will I be afraid to get on the train? Or go outside with the world?

One thing you should do is to make sure you have an outlet. Reach out to someone to talk to, and in this day and age, it is so much easier. With the help of apps, you can even do it from the comfort of your own home. Especially if you are in a situation similar to mine. I know I am not alone, even if it feels like I am. Having someone to talk to sometimes is best.

Though talking with someone is best, sometimes I just need to move. Doing something like yoga, barre exercises or merely stretching does a world of good for my mental state. Now this may not be the same for everyone but it could be the first step.

Because this situation is strange, not normal it is important not to judge or push ourselves. Or base what we “should be doing” on what other people are doing. We are handling this, we just need to figure out what is best for us.

Fear and anxiety are possibly the most common emotional responses any of us will feel as we approach the release from lockdown. Finding a way to pull ourselves through lockdown took a lot of our emotional energy and we may have found a place that lets us cope, and that we don’t want to leave behind just yet. 

Many of us fear becoming ill with the virus or passing infection on to loved ones, as the risk increases when people interact. This is an entirely normal response, but risk can be reduced by following the guidelines.  

For a little while, after we go back to our normal lives it is going to feel unusual or even scary. We might feel nervous or anxious, and we may get angry or frustrated with ourselves, I know I have but trust me you will get through it.

Ways I control my anxiety

I had to learn to control what I can control. That is one of my triggers, when I can control something or I am in a position that is unfamiliar to me, my anxiety starts to erupt. Over the years I have learned I can tackle small battles, such as when my shoe is untied in a crowded place. I learned it is ok, and I feel better about stopping to tie my shoe when I can get close to a wall or even better the corner of a doorway.

Learning to pace myself! There is no reason to push yourself or allow anyone to push to you reconnect with others once this is all over and done. We are all going to be a little weary of people, and that is ok. Perhaps start with going to the park, but go at your own pace.

Build up tolerances by challenging yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go as planned. Try varying your routines, for instance, I go to a different store just so I can be outside longer. If one place makes me nervous, I go to another. This is also the time when I take a walk to clear my mind and just get some fresh air. It helps, I find, to ease me back into society. (now what works for me may not be the best solution for you, that is something you will need to figure out for yourself.)

Dealing with uncertainty

This may or may not be our forever “new normal”, and while it is currently strange and uncomfortable we are learning we are so much stronger than we realized. We learned more about ourselves, our values, and our lives. Instead of trying to predict the future or worrying about what we don’t know, we should all focus on the present. We should take the time to have some mindfulness meditation. Our lives are meant to be lived, not living in fear of what might come. I was scared out of my mind when I moved clear across the world, but I did it. I was tested in ways, granted I put myself in this position, but I also learned I am bigger than my anxiety.

For more information on your mental well being here are some likes for you to check out

NHS Mental Health

Samartians

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