Anyone who suffers from anxiety most likely has been suffering more than usual lately. Most anxiety sufferers have practices in place in their lives for stressful situations. But what happens when every day is stressful during uncertain times? Then what should these individuals do?
After researching—mainly for myself because I’m about as high-strung as they come—I found some rather insightful things to try.
According to the American Psychology Association’s website, APA.org/helpcenter/stress-uncertainty, these nine tips can help you navigate uncertain stressful situations, like the one we’ve been facing.
1. Be kind to yourself. In stressful times, it doesn’t help to be hard on yourself. Try to be patient with yourself and your feelings.
2. Reflect on past successes. Everyone has had stressful events in their past and survived them. Reflect on those times and think about what you did that helped. It could be helpful now.
3. Limit exposure to news. Lately, there has been a lot of negative news and a lot of updates. It can feel very overwhelming. Instead of constantly checking for updates, set a time each day—preferably not before bedtime—to check the news. Limit your time so you can learn what you need to but not make yourself unnecessarily anxious.
4. Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. Many people with anxiety like to focus on worst-case scenarios, but that doesn’t help during times like these. Try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.
5. Take your own advice. Oftentimes, we give friends advice when they’re in similar situations as us. Imagine what you would tell a friend if they were experiencing what you are going through.
6. Engage in self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone. For you, it might mean keeping up with healthy habits you already do, or it may mean taking time to read, meditate or do yoga.
7. Seek support from those you trust. It’s easy to isolate when you’re feeling down, worried and stressed, but having support from those close to you can help. Call a friend or a family member to talk. Or set up a video chat. It can help more than you realize to talk things out with another person.
8. Control what you can. When everything feels out of your control, it’s best to focus on things you can control. Set routines for yourself, such as going for a walk at the same time every day, and plan things such as meals so that you feel as if you’re in control.
9. Ask for help. If it all feels like too much for you to handle—even after reaching out to friends and family—ask the experts for help. Psychologists are trained to help people cope in stressful situations.
And don’t forget, you’re not alone—especially right now. Many people suffer from anxiety, and with all of the uncertainty lately, more people are feeling worried. Sometimes just knowing you’re not the only one feeling anxious can help.