Managing anxiety mid-way through (another) lockdown
Part way through another Perth & Peel lockdown and many of us are no doubt experiencing some level of frustration, disappointment and/or anxiety. Most aspects of our lives have been disrupted and we are uncertain about what happens next.
Anxiety and worry are normal when there is a potential or uncertain threat. The threat may be to our physical health, social connections, financial circumstances, or any other important impact on our lives such as disrupted holidays or planned events.
Here are some strategies and tips to manage your way through this latest ‘new normal’.
Watch your thinking
- Focus on what you can control in each moment and try to accept what is unknown or uncertain. Try to keep things in perspective and avoid getting caught up in making predictions. Focus on what you can control and not the things you can’t.
- Many of us actually underestimate our ability to deal with hard times. Remember how you have coped in the past in difficult circumstances. What things helped you, and what didn’t help?
- If you notice yourself worrying during the day, try to contain your worrying to a particular ‘worry time’ (e.g., 5-5:15pm). Outside of this time, postpone your worry and see if it still matters at your worry time.
- The non-stop media coverage is great to keep you up to date but it’s not always helpful and some may find it overwhelming and upsetting. Limit media exposure and stick to trusted sources of information - check in with the news rather than being constantly connected.
Follow the message of Act Belong Commit - It’s grounded in great principles
- Do things that make you feel good. Check out this list of 50 activities known to bring pleasure to some people, and you can do them under lockdown.
- Try to maintain regular sleep routine and eat well. Perhaps you now have more time to prepare fresh meals and exercise, which will improve your mental health and wellbeing.
- Keep your alcohol, tobacco, and drug use in check. Try swapping a glass of wine for a herbal tea.
- Use mindfulness meditation, slow breathing, yoga or other activities that slow your mind and relax your body.
- Connect to people you care about.
- Within the home, show support to others and ask for what you need. Start meaningful conversations and deepen connections, which may be more difficult when life is busy.
- Send friends and family a text to let them know you are thinking about them. Give them a call or use your preferred video-conferencing platform. Check in on someone experiencing lockdown alone and let them know you are only a phone call away.
- If it appeals to you, why not take this time to start doing something that will challenge you. Commit to taking it up and find ways to bring it into your regular routine.
Get support if you need it
- Professional support is available. Call a helpline to talk things over.
- Contact your GP for a telehealth appointment. Seek a referral to a psychologist if you are struggling.
More helpful advice can be found in Act Belong Commit’s 4 Day Plan released at the start of lockdown. The 4 Day Plan outlines 4 things to do each day to help you keep mentally healthy. Check it out here.
Act Belong Commit acknowledges Peter McEvoy, Professor of Clinical Psychology from Curtin University’s School of Population Health, enAble Institute and the Centre for Clinical Interventions, who has collaborated with Mentally Healthy WA to bring you this article.
Professor McEvoy is also a member of Mentally Healthy WA’s Research Advisory Group.