The pandemic has triggered an array of emotional, physical, and economic issues and in the midst of this crisis has led to diverse mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other trauma and stress-related disorders.
If there was a way to dispel all anxious feelings, I’d tell you, but there isn’t. The one exception might be someone who could summon such a degree of denial that they carry on as if everything were normal. And that, as I am sure you can imagine, would prove to be very unwise.
Some people find it possible to tolerate some degree of discomfort and can manage their anxiety in a healthy manner. Often that is because some people have done well under this kind of challenge already, albeit in very different contexts. Yet other people — particularly people who have anxiety disorders — may understandably be having a great deal of trouble coping at this time. Even though you may feel anxious there are ways to help us prepare to respond in a more adaptive and healthy way.
Move your body! I find that when I start to feel anxious cleaning my surroundings helps to get stagnant energy out in a practical manner. Sign-up to take a virtual yoga class or dance around your living room like no one is looking. Just get your body moving!
Seek support from a mental health professional. Talking to a mental health professional can bolster your ability to address present concerns, and help you clarify where your feelings are coming from.
Work toward separating out where your feelings are coming from. Doing this work can allow you to take a breath and divvy up the different emotional contributions that feed how you are feeling. Try saying this out loud with your hand on your heart: “I am safe.” A simple action and statement like this can open the door to some significant relief.
Keep providing yourself with guidance. As often as you need to hear it, tell yourself the following: “I can manage. I can practice what I know to be helpful, and I know that in managing my feelings and reactions. I can seek the support of a mental health professional when needed.” By combining these strategies, you may be able to settle your nerves in order to be able to make healthy choices.
We are wired for fight or flight. Separating out feelings from the past, reminding yourself that you have the strength and ability in the present to prevail, seeing a path forward for yourself, and setting yourself upon that path is the way forward. If along the way you should stumble and fall, picture yourself as able to pick yourself back up and carry on. Reassure yourself that the basic requirements for your safety and well-being are within your power to meet.
We’re in this together, I see you and I’m rooting for you!
~Saprema – Jenine @sweetserenityyoga