It’s natural for anyone to fall victim to stress or anxiety at any point in life, whether you are prone to these conditions or you’re going through a particularly difficult situation, like divorce, bereavement, or even lockdown at the hands of coronavirus.
It’s tough to be told that you have to change your way of life as you know it – to stop seeing your friends, family, and not being able to spend your weekends letting off steam by exercising, going out to a bar or restaurant. A sudden switch to isolation can leave you feeling down, trapped, and unhappy.
There are some coping tactics you can use to tackle situational depression and/or anxiety, some of which we’ve outlined below, to help you combat your feelings and stay safe.
Breathe & think positive
This is the simplest but arguably one of the most effective tactics to help you control your emotions when you’re feeling overwhelmed. While you’re cooped up at home, it’s easy to become frustrated, or feel like the world is on your shoulders. Are little things at work frustrating you? Or perhaps having your children at home full time is demanding of your physical and emotional energy. Whatever the scenario,you might find that you’re suddenly more worried about your future, or the day to day things, and you might be experiencing more negative thoughts than usual.
Breathing helps to temporarily transport us from the way we are feeling in a particular situation. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop, take a deep breath or two, and think. Rationalise your unrealistic thoughts from your reality and try to come up with a solution to your problem, or a way of coping with it at least. Deep breaths help to calm your energy, which, once you have relaxed, will make it easier to develop a better train of thought.
One of the easiest ways to allow negative thoughts to fester is by not keeping your mind and body active. It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. Sitting around doing nothing all day, you have plenty of time to ponder. Exercising won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and allowing you to deal with any problems in a calm manner.
People who stay active are less likely to experience anxiety because exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, improves our sleep quality and improves your confidence.
These boredom busting ideas might also help.
Connect with people
If you’re used to working in a busy office and having lots of people to chat to, being stuck at home is likely affecting your mood, due to the lack of social interaction you’re getting. If you’re feeling depressed about the current situation, try to find some normality in your day by getting in touch with friends, family or colleagues for a chat, so that you’re still getting a dose of social interaction.
It’s important to eat a balanced diet if you want to maintain a healthy mind and body. Try not to snack too much while you’re at home (you’d be surprised how easily it can affect you) and eat three meals a day – try not to skip meals as this can impact on your body too. If you do feel the urge to snacks, keep some energy-boosting treats in your cupboard so you’re not just snacking away on chocolate, crisps, and all of the baking that’s likely getting done at home (had anyone else noticed how difficult it is to get flour right now?)!
If you’re not sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, try supplements to ensure you’re getting what you need.
Reducing your coffee intake also helps to reduce anxiety since caffeine is a stimulant. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back. High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. However, people’s sensitivity to caffeine can vary greatly.
Laughing relieves tension and your stress response. We could all do with a dose of laughter throughout the day, so whether it’s catching up on a TV series that you find funny, speaking to a friend who you know can lift your spirits or playing a game with your loved ones, laughing can do wonders for your mood.
The most important thing to remember is that this is situational, not permanent – we will see each other again, and live our lives as we once did – we just have to get through this tough time and stay safe before we can be with our loved ones again.