Anxiety in the Midst of a Pandemic
Are you like me and suffer from anxiety? Ever since I was a little girl, I have struggled with anxiety. The older I became, the more my anxiety multiplied. I struggled to grasp the demon that was developing inside. I would go months and sometimes even years when I thought I had beat the monster that lies within, just for it to resurface with full force at the slightest trigger.
Talk about a trigger. Guess who arrives to knock you out of kilter when you least expect it? A little something called COVID-19. I noticed a dramatic increase in my anxiety, although how could anyone not feel anxious during this? It came to a point where it was scary to even turn on the television. It was a harsh new reality of a mysterious virus sickening and killing people, not to mention globally spreading. I had become so terrified I didn't leave the house for over two months.
It becomes an extremely challenging feat when your mind starts racing. It almost seems to go a thousand miles a minute, with nothing you can do to stop it. All you want to do is yell and scream, but your imagination leaves you thinking the worse. Then you worry what the best way is to protect your loved ones and yourself, how to provide financial stability and support when you don't have a job, how to safely get food, and heaven forbid-what happens if you get it and you die because of all your health issues? Then there are those full-fledged panic attacks. You know, the ones where you can't breathe, and then the world closes in around you. The whole ordeal becomes so taxing on the mind and the body.
During these difficult times, I am ever more thankful for such a supportive spouse. For a person who doesn't suffer from anxiety, it can be hard for them to understand what you are going through, but that doesn't mean they don't care or don't want to learn more to support you. Recently, I found myself in one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had. It was terrifying, not only for me but for my family as well. It took a long time for it to subside, but once it was over, my spouse had asked for me to try and put into words what it was I was going through. He wanted to know what was happening so he could better understand and help me. No one in the world knew how much this meant to me. When I experience these attacks or feel anxious, I feel like I am much more of a burden on those around me than I am a blessing. Knowing that he wanted to know what was happening with me so he could support me only made our relationship stronger.
During those two months where I was out of work, I chose to focus on ways to lessen the anxiety within. What a huge accomplishment this was for me! I needed to find ways to improve my mental health, and these were lifesavers for me. Below are the activities that I found the most helpful. I know that these are challenging times for many of us. These activities are either completely free or considerably inexpensive. I strived to find ways that bring you back to balance while being thrifty at the same time.
Do you have a smartphone or TV? Then you can do yoga. Yoga is excellent for subduing built-up stress and for bringing you back into balance. I found this extremely helpful! Back in the day, I was paying a subscription of about $20 a month for something that I rarely used. The content was exceptional, but I couldn't justify spending that much. Recently I discovered yoga content on YouTube that is just as satisfactory quality for free. Not only life saving for me but a huge money saver!
You can choose many different ways to meditate. Calming music and a seat on the floor does just the trick for me. As I meditate, my mind drifts off to another dimension, and I'm not worrying about what is going on around me. When I do this for ten-20 minutes a day, it does such wonders, and it brings my mind back to clarity.
Reading is not for everyone, but there are so many options out there. You can grab an old fashion book, an e-book or, try an audiobook. Now sometimes it is hard to get your mind to focus when it is in such a whirlwind, but if you can get it to focus long enough to get yourself hooked into your book, that's all you need. I find it so relaxing because the authors take you to whatever realm they've created and out of reality. There's a lot one can learn in the books of the world.
If I get myself in a deep enough funk, the only thing that brings me out is distracting my mind. Coloring does this for me. My mind is so busy thinking about what colors to use and where to put them that usually, I am unable to think of other things. Because of this, if I feel a panic attack coming on, I will color or find something similar to it as a quick distraction.
Find a Hobby
Do you have something you love to do? I know I do! I love arts, crafts, writing, and baking! Sometimes, all I need is to get up and do one of those things, and I feel better. I find this because it relaxes me and distracts me from the current situation. My true love is baking! There is nothing that makes me feel better than trying a new recipe or baking an old favorite!
Everyone is different. Find something that helps you bring your mind to clarity and ease. Once you find it keep doing it every day because you can't do something once and expect results. I practice yoga and meditation daily, and it has made a considerable difference in my life. The harsh reality is anxiety is not an easy beast to tame, but with a little help, we can all get through it together. Now is the time, more than ever, to support each other. With a global pandemic around us, it doesn't make taming the beast easy, but it's not impossible. You first need to focus on taking care of yourself, and then you can conquer the rest of the world one day at a time.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Carissa Nason