Updated: Mar 24, 2020
We are social animals, so feeling hemmed in and isolated can induce feelings of anxiety, claustrophobia and paranoia. To help cope with this, i've compiled some simple ways to combat these feelings and help us feel less overwhelmed:
1. Stay connected. Video conferencing and social media can help us feel connected with others, enabling us to watch and interact with family, friends and others. Social isolation is a global effort and staying connected helps us feel less alone. Others are going through the same thing and it helps to talk about it. On saying this, be careful not to spend too much time on social media as this can lead to overwhelm especially as there some unreliable sources of information out there. Try and stick to reliable sites for any news updates.
2. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness practice can help bring us back to the present moment and calm our thoughts. Times like this can cause us to catastrophise greatly and imagine all sorts of terrible outcomes for ourselves and others, so practising mindfulness can help bring us away from thinking catastrophically. Youtube is awash practices, tools and videos for this.
3. Routine. Create an at home routine if you can. Things like regular meal times, waking and going bed at the same time, scheduling time to read, tidy up, write that business plan, whatever it is, make it a regular thing as this helps to combat boredom, anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Its also shown that keeping to a routine during times of stress can help us feel more resilient.
4. Get out into nature while you can. If you can, get outside and spend some time in a green space. Some studies have shown that even looking at greenery for 20 minutes can lower blood pressure which helps combat stress and anxiety in itself.
5. Get on the phone. If social media is not your thing, go the old fashioned route and make a call. Chatting to others during this time helps us feel connected and less alone.
6. Exercise. Even if its starts with 5 minutes a day, movement is key to our wellbeing. Humans were made to move, so if you are able to, get exercising. Yoga, pilates, HiiT, Circuit training, weight training, any kind of training is available everywhere online and youtube is a great resource for any kind of exercise you are interested in. You can also get in touch with me if you'd like to try a combined psychotherapy and exercise session.
7. Eat healthy whole food if you can. Eating well is less stress on the body and will support your immune system and gut health. Protecting the gut by consuming less saturated fat and sugars supports the body's immune function and therefore promotes wellbeing.
8. Remember, this is only temporary. Social Isolation can be a scary time, but it is in place to help protect us and limit the spread of illness. Try and maintain a sense of this and remember that it is all temporary and it will pass.
I hope these tips help and remember, if you or a loved one feel overwhelmed by anxiety and would like to talk it through, you can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Following the advice from Public Health England, all psychotherapy sessions are currently being held via video call or telephone.