Hello everyone and welcome to my April blog post, of which I am very late with it being the 28th today but I just wanted to touch on Covid-19 before I begin my main May blog.
I hope that during this worldwide pandemic that my client's past and present and followers of it's just a feeling are keeping as well as you can be.
I am sorry that I have not been as proactive on the website up to now, I have been taking the time to support my current clients, along with my organisational work and further study, but of course I am aware that my blog and the website does need constant attention too so as soon as I have found the time, I'm here.
Anxiety tends to thrive with uncertainty, and there is a huge uncertainty around at the moment with the current virus Covid-19 virus circulating the world. Suddenly, there is a strong sense that everything has changed and this can feel quite de-stabilising.
When we feel a sense of being unsafe, that will increase our anxiety.
Strongly connected to the uncertainty around the virus, there is of course other worries that add to feeling disconnected from the world as we knew it, our family, our friends. our hobbies and our work to name but a few examples, which can test our resilience and affect our ability to implement any of our usual coping strategies.
First of all, I would just like to normalise these feelings. This is not just anxiety or anxiety re surfacing, it would be very normal to have anxious feelings and low moods at the present time. The worries that can be connected to the global pandemic are enough on their own, but unfortunately, they are connected strongly to the impact that this may have on other significant aspects of life that help to keep our emotional stability in check. Aspects such as the health and safety of our loved ones, our finances and our ability to choose how we live day to day, all of which are vital to us feeling emotionally stable and safe and in controling to some extent our anxiety.
Firstly, it is important to remeber that we are all human beings, we are not infallible and it is normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious in situations such as this.
Anxiety itself focuses on fear relating to the possibility of some element of the future that we fear happening, which is strongly linked to the uncertainty around that situation, so with this in mind it would seem very logical in a situation such as a global pandemic, which IS very uncertain, to feel anxious.
If you were to picture a ladder and imagine that the very bottom rung of the ladder relates to anyone who would not as a general rule be seeing themselves as suffering from anxiety.
Step two rungs up the ladder, this would be where an 'anxious person' may sit as their general rule.
Now add Covid-19 and this is what happens:
Those on the bottom rung move up two steps to join those whom are currently suffering anxiety - their anxiety from 'their normal' has risen.
However, those whom are already on the second rung whom have already been in a state of anxiety generally, will move up two more and suffer even more heightened anxiety.
This is how I see our feelings affected by anxiety in relation to Covid-19.
The only two choices we have during any given situation in life
A Psychologist once said to me that in life we only ever have two responses to any given situation that we come across in our life:
1. We can change it
2. We can change the way that we think about it.
Sounds simple, but if you think about it is. Somethings in life will always be out of our control, such as redundancy as an example. So however much we ruminate or stress about it, it is not within our power to change it.
We can choose to hold onto that and stress and resist or feel powerless but at what cost, what does this resistance do to our emotional health? In my opinion, that type of resistance increases anxiety not de-creases it and is essentially counterproductive.
Or, we can choose option two which to my knowledge is the only other option that we have- change our perspective and try to look at things in an alternative way. A way in which is much more beneficial to our own emotional health.
In the case of redundancy, we can fight against it and feel like we will never find a job like that or be ok as a result of this or we can take option two and change the way we think about it. Maybe the redundancy is a door closing that means a fresh new and exciting one can open! Maybe this is a GOOD thing not a bad thing, maybe this paves the way for an exciting new future with exciting new opportunities!
Consider the above, reflect on how are emotions are affected by the way in which we see a situation and consider the benefits of a change of perception.
How could we use these choices to impact the way in which we feel about Covid-19? Worth considering as it is most defiantly not in our power to control or change.
Break it down
Could we break down our days into small manageable chunks, is there anything that we can do to minimise our anxious feelings such as taking a break from the news or anything that negatively affects our feelings.
Remember, enforcing our anxiety comes through following our natural instinct to protect ourselves so consider the example below:
1. Thoughts- I am worrying that we may all lose our jobs during the lockdown
2. Feelings- racing heart, shaking, needing to go to the toilet, which lead to us considering ways in which we can seek reassurance that will help with our feelings and thoughts.
3. Behaviours- We rush to the computer and google 'how many people have lost their jobs due to Corona Virus?' in a bit to follow an instinct to protect ourselves from our worrying thoughts and feelings only to inevitably find something else that worries us and begins the cycle again.
Recognising this cycle and the choices that we have with our behaviour aspect is a very powerful way to begin to reverse the cycle.
Changing behaviours that lead to enforcing the cycle is important. So, if for example reading the news strengthens that cycle related to Covid-19, consider resisting the urge to keep checking the news. Do not pour petrol on your fire!
Or how about using grounding techniques to bring us back into the present moment when we feel our mind wondering into what might happen in the future.
All we do actually have is the present moment, we don't know what is going to happen in the future, regardless of what we imagine. Imagining a future that we don't yet know only takes away our present.
We cannot panic in the present moment so maybe staying in it will help our anxious feelings to stay low.
Break things down and concentrate on the task in hand, one foot in front of the other and work with what you have right now.
Remember that you are doing it
During anxiety, the bad days feel hard, but remind yourself that you are dealing with every one of those bad days and you are also doing the same with this pandemic.
The same concept applies to this situation as does any other situation that enables you to feel anxious. You may feel uncomfortable but you can and are working with what you have right now.
This situation will start to ease and when it does it will feel easier.
Sit with the feelings
As I have said above, these feelings are normal, trust in your body and feel feelings that are normal to have given the situation.
Anxiety leads us to believe that these feelings are harmful to us and that we must resist them, but in doing that we are often having the opposite effect as our anxiety will persist.
Allow your body to work through the feelings that you are having and learn to trust that it knows exactly how to do that. It is not about putting blocks and resistance in the way. These feelings are not harmful, they are normal and can and will be worked through, when we do that in the right way!
Look for the good
When things feel hard and restricted, it can feel difficult to see any good, but if we really spend time reflecting, there is good everywhere.
I will give you some of my own thoughts on the positives that I can see during this pandemic:
The world has pressed pause, giving the majority the time to reflect and slow down with permission to do so.
We realise how important our mental and physical health is to our overall wellbeing.
We find quality time in small ways.
There is less traffic everywhere and therefore less pollution in the world, giving our planet time to heal.
We realise how important connection can be to those around us.
There is less cost and expense.
The world may as a result change in a positive way in the long run.
We may realise how little we actually need, reducing the stress we place on ourselves to see huge value in material things.
It gives us chance to sit with and work with difficult feelings.
We are not better or worse than the next person we are all on an equal footing really in life.
I hope this blog post goes some way to providing some comfort to those whom are finding things particularly hard at the moment.
This situation will ease and we will all be stronger for working with our feelings and acknowledging that what we are feeling is normal!
Best wishes to you all,
Until my May blog,