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Talking about Anxiety COVID Edition

With all the different things happening with COVID around Australia and the various lockdowns including the extended lockdowns in Melbourne it is something that is causing anxiety for many. So I thought I would share some information about Anxiety and some different ways in which to cope with it that people might find helpful. Where possible i do believe it’s important to talk to a professional if needed and if it’s available even if it’s just calling Lifeline, Mensline Australia, Mindspot Clinic, etc (and I will supply options throughout this blog for people to access if needed.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, It’s a fear or apprehension of things to come or things happening in your life. But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder

Its normal to feel anxious about the unknown, whether its moving house, starting a new job or even in Melbourne’s case, wondering how long these lockdowns will last and the impact on our lives, community and work. Its something that is unpleasant and ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but doesn’t interfere with your every day life.

In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear may be with you all the time. It is intense and sometimes debilitating. This type of anxiety may cause you to stop doing things you enjoy. In extreme cases, it may prevent you from being unable to leave your home, go about daily life, get out of bed or even communicate with friends and family If left untreated, the anxiety will keep getting worse.

Some types of Anxiety Disorders

  • panic disorder: experiencing recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. A person with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.
  • phobia: excessive fear of a specific object, situation, or activity
  • social anxiety disorder: extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder: recurring irrational thoughts that lead you to perform specific, repeated behaviors
  • separation anxiety disorder: fear of being away from home or loved ones
  • illness anxiety disorder: anxiety about your health (formerly called hypochondria)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): anxiety following a traumatic event

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety feels different for each person experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart. You might feel out of control as though there’s some kind of disconnect between your mind and body. Some other ways people can possibly experience anxiety may include things such as nightmares, panic attacks, and painful thoughts or memories that you can’t control. You may have a general feeling of fear or apprehension even worry.

Some of the possible symptoms you could experience with general anxiety are –

  • increased heart rate
  • rapid breathing
  • trouble concentrating
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • feeling tense, restless, ‘on edge’ or wound up
  • hot and cold flushes
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • feeling weak or tired
  • obsessive thinking excessive fear and worrying
  • having a sense of impending panic, doom or danger
  • imagining the worst-case scenario
  • having difficulty thinking about anything other than what’s worrying you
  • having trouble sleeping
  • stomach or digestion issues
  • avoiding situations that make you feel anxious

Everyone has different symptoms of anxiety and its really important to know all the different ways people can experience anxiety, i have found a resource that gives some details on how anxiety may present itself, Read about the many types of anxiety symptoms you might experience.

On the Beyond Blue website they have an Anxiety Checklist you can go through to get an idea of where your anxiety is at which can be worthwhile doing to help decide what you might be helpful to reduce some of your anxiety.

How to treat Anxiety?

Now there are a variety of ways in which you can get treatment for anxiety and its always a good idea to have a chat to your GP and possibly a psychologist or psychiatrist to get medical treatment for your anxiety. But there are a range of lifestyle changes and other options that can be helpful with your anxiety as well. And i will talk about some of them here.

There are a number of ways that can help alleviate your anxiety, These wont work for everyone but they are some suggestions to help you out.

  • getting enough sleep
  • meditating
  • staying active and exercising
  • eating a healthy diet
  • staying active and working out
  • avoiding alcohol
  • avoiding caffeine
  • quitting smoking cigarettes

How to Meditate with Anxiety – This is a great site with some meditation ideas that are really helpful. I have also found checking out meditation videos on YouTube to be really helpful as well, I have found a couple of different apps you can download on to your phone you might also find helpful and there are more then what i have listed but its worth checking them out to see if any are useful for you.

  • Meditation: Calm.
  • Adult coloring: Colorfy.
  • Guided anxiety app: Dare.
  • Anxiety app for sleep: Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep.
  • Anxiety app for breathing techniques: Breathwork.

I have also found that ASMR videos both on Ticktok and YouTube have been really helpful, i have gone through most until i found the types that are helpful to me as there are many different kinds so it would depend what works best for you .

If you think talking to someone will be helpful there are a couple of National help lines and websites that you might find useful, especially if you are in Lockdown or isolation and unable to leave the house at the moment. So make sure you check them out to see which one you might find helpful to you.

There are some foods that have been known to help with anxiety as well so adding or including them in your diet you may find helpful as well. 6 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety. As mentioned previously exercise can be helpful to reduce anxiety as well and there are many options to choose from you just have to see what suits you. Anxiety & Exercise Factsheet. Something i have discovered that is great to do in the comfort of your own home and also relaxing and anxiety reducing is a program calls Body Groove the videos can be found on YouTube as well as on their website.

Hopefully you find some of this information helpful and useful. I will include some resources below for you to have a read of as well and check out to help you out

10 Ways to Naturally Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety Treatment – Black Dog Institute

Anxiety Treatment Australia – Melbourne Based – In Person & Telehealth Consults and Bulk Billing Available

Healthdirect – Anxiety Factsheet

Managing and Treating Anxiety

Anxiety House Brisbane

Anxiety Assessment & Treatment – Headspace

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