Before you read any further, I want you to spare a moment and take a deep breath, for you have survived the lockdown.
Experts suggested social distancing and self-quarantine to help combat the spread of novel coronavirus, sending most of us into isolation. This led to a drastic shift in mood and emotions causing conversion of happiness into dismay, depression, feeling of being alone, anxiety and other mental health issues. At some points in life we all experience difficult situations that require immediate actions. This was one of them. The circumstances were unpredictable and it is natural to feel overwhelmed as one has less to no control over one’s thoughts or on how things would turn out.
Today, stress and anxiety have become a part of life, an integral one I would say. We get anxious about things mostly when we are uncertain about the outcome. However, stress and anxiety have their own sweet levels, there is normal anxiety which is when you have the stomach butterflies before an interview and there is the abnormal anxiety, the feeling of vague uneasiness that arises due to unpredictability, like during the lockdown when nobody was sure of what would happen next.
Unfortunately, there is no said solution that is going to change things, you’ve got to sail through until the issues are resolved. The good news here is, we have ways to overcome and manage anxiety and to uplift your mood.
It’s okay to feel anxious
Surveys suggest that one out of three people will be mentally affected by the lockdown. There is nothing wrong with you feeling low or anxious right now. Our mood and thoughts are affected severely by the environment we live in.
Acknowledge the feelings, I understand that it is scary but give yourself time to recover. You are not alone and things will get back to how they were. Everything will be fine. Pat yourself on the back for staying put through these difficult times, accept that there are things you cannot control, instead focus on working towards constructive solutions to the aspects that you can control.
Speak to someone
When life gets the better of you, do not keep your feelings to yourself. Speak to a family member, a guide, a professional or a trusted friend. Seek counseling if you feel the necessity. Letting your emotions out helps in reducing the feelings of emotional overload when you encounter distressing circumstances.
Chiku - Journal, Diary and Mood Tracker is an app that can come handy at the comfort of your own home. It serves like a personal diary and an emotion tracker to confide in. It is a convenient way to make notes, record your emotional swings and log down the thoughts that bug you. Your personal counselor anytime and anywhere.
Indulge into self-care
Self-care may take the form of doing things you love, putting on new clothes, perusing your passion, finding a new hobby, relaxing hot showers, scented candles, tossing book pages, enjoying a warm cup of coffee while gazing through the window, going for a jog, playing your favorite music, cuddling with your pet, finding clothes you like, treating yourself with good food or doing nothing at all. Self-care isn’t really just about pampering yourself. It is more about accepting who you are as an individual being, appreciating the abilities you possess and embracing yourself.
This method has been followed for ages now to gain mindfulness, limit worrying thoughts, reduce anxiety and bring about a feeling of calm, balance and focus. Meditation causes you to enter into a deep state of relaxation, bliss and has a positive effect on generalized anxiety disorder. Meditation accompanied with rhythmic breathing will increase the oxygen levels in the blood, signaling the brain to reach a state of composure. Make the lockdown an opportunity to attain mental wellness.
It is a simple way that helps you work through anxious feelings and relieve stress. One of the main reasons for anxiety is the continuous replay of negative thoughts. When you pen down your concerns, it allows you to examine them in a way which was not possible when thinking about them.
Journaling apps like Chiku – Journal, Diary and Mood Tracker come to your rescue here. Chiku is an online personal diary, a mood and happiness tracker, which has revamped the traditional ways of journaling. It also acts like an emotion tracker to help you log your feelings. Chiku serves as your personal assistant to keep a record of your daily activities, boosts your mood with a motivational quote daily and positive affirmations, helps you introspect on the real worth of life and true happiness and allows you to confront the thoughts that bother you.
Limit the media exposure
The feeling of being overwhelmed gets triggered when people overestimate a threat and underplay their own capabilities to cope up with it. This causes unnecessary panic and anxiety. Social media can fuel in the bothersome feelings by instilling in us, a fear of uncertainty through fake news and misinformation. It is vital to limit the media exposure particularly from unreliable sources to get the peace of mind.
Try to maintain a routine
Maintaining a routine is a strategy that gives you the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when you know you finally have something under control. Make a routine which includes time to be productive by setting achievable and realistic goals, as well as spare yourself the leisure moments to relax. Go easy on yourself while formulating a routine and make sure to be reasonable. Do not try to incorporate everything in a single day, divide the activities throughout the day and week, so that they are easy to accomplish and do not leave you unsettled or anxious.
Eat right and exercise
Proper nutrition helps in keeping your health, mind and soul healthy and happy. Anxiety can make you feel unwell, eating right can help uplift how you feel and hence improve your mood. Drink plenty of water as dehydration can affect your mood. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine, the immediate effect might be calming but it will leave you feeling on the edge as the effect wears off. Exercise regularly as results show that it helps decrease the stress levels, stabilizes mood and helps you get sound sleep. Take your pet for a walk or just go for a stroll by yourself, let nature do its job in making you feel better but remember to wear your mask.
Try to get enough sleep
Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy emotional state. It allows the brain cells to relax, get enough nutrients to fuel growth and repair the damage caused due to stress and other factors. A good sound eight hours of sleep will reduce the anxiety levels and elevate your overall mood.
Build a new habit
As we are all at home, taking mind off negative thoughts becomes necessary. Try to focus on building a new habit. Try meditation and mindfulness, put your inner cleaning freak to work, declutter your surrounding and reorganize, get creative, make art and unleash your inner artist, opt for physical activities like aerobics, dance, Zumba or yoga to get the blood flowing, pick up a book and start reading, journalize and write down your thoughts in a diary or using online journaling apps, to maintain a record, look for a recipe online and be the chef you are, sing your heart out or do whatever that pleases you. Do an activity regularly to make it a habit. This will target all your energies towards something you love and noticeably reduce the anxiety levels.
Anxiety is normal, but it can easily alter how it feels for us to act normally in this abnormal circumstance. The above mentioned list is not exhaustive nor a miraculous concoction of steps to follow which will guarantee a cure for anxiety. However, it will give you a new perspective on how to navigate your life regardless of all the unsettled thoughts and anxiety.