At one of our Wednesday Sessions via Zoom, we covered ‘Anxious Minds in Uncertain Times’ in relation to Covid anxiety. This session was created and run by two of our fantastic volunteer facilitators Phoebe & Julie. Here is what we covered…
A common disorder that many are experiencing now is anticipatory anxiety. This is worrying about an event or situation in the future, including the fear that bad things might happen and the fear of failure. Since the Government restrictions being lifted, many people are feeling the impacts on their mental health, feelings, and emotions. For instance, they will be feeling anxious, afraid, or panicked, feeling powerless, feeling unsupported or disregarded, feeling under pressure, stressed and unprepared, along with various other mixed feelings and emotions. There is a term that has been created by the media called ‘Covid Anxiety Syndrome’. This has come from the increase in mental health problems being reported during the pandemic, from 25% to 40%. Causes include low tolerance to uncertainty, overwhelming media coverage and fear to promote compliance.
Other areas that we explored in the session included travelling, such as travelling to work and how that is making people feel. There may be some people who are feeling excited to be going back into the office and workplace as opposed to others that may be apprehensive about it. They may feel out of practice, or are concerned about the spread of Covid, worried about using public transport and whether other people will stick to the rules and be Covid safe. In addition, we considered travelling for recreation, many may be really excited about being able to go on holiday and cannot wait to get back to normal. Whereas others are beginning to feel the pressure & are concerned about booking holidays at the minute especially as there is so much uncertainty. For instance, being worried about the holiday being cancelled last minute, not getting your money back or it being difficult to get the money back. Fear of restrictions being changed, things not being open when you go or feeling under pressure to go on holiday by friends and family. Even before the pandemic, going on holiday could be quite stressful with packing, making sure you have everything, that you are on time, getting through security and customs and now there is the added what ifs.
Other factors causing people to feel anxious may include, feeling less confident or have lower self-esteem. As a result of weight gain or loss, not being able to access services like hairdressers or gyms, fitness classes, feeling out of practice socially, feeling like we must learn how to socialise again and get back to ‘normal’ or ‘pre covid’ life. As well as feeling unsure about relationships because you have not seen people in a long time, worried about doing something wrong, not following the latest rules and Government guidelines.
Below are helpful some tips for easing yourself out of lockdown:
One step at a time- do not feel that you need to do everything at once because it feels that everyone else is.
- Focus on the now- try not to ruminate on future events which could change.
- Focus on things that you are looking forward to, not what could go wrong.
- Do not feel you have to go back to the ‘old normal’ if things work better remotely then continue with this.
- Find a new normal- do not feel pressure to do things you used to do or enjoy doing if they are not enjoyable anymore. Incorporate things slowly into your routine to mediate the fear associated with severe changes.
- Plan ahead- if you are worried about public transport then plan which
buses/trains you will get on and arrange to go at less busy times if possible.
- Look after your wellbeing & be kind to yourself- try to eat healthy, exercise often and sleep well.
- Arm yourself with trustworthy information - try to use government sources to make decisions on what you are and are not allowed to do. You may find conflicting information online because it is from disreputable sources or applies to different areas of the world.