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
- 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 it’s 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 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
- staying active and exercising
- eating a healthy diet
- staying active and working out
- avoiding alcohol
- avoiding caffeine
- quitting smoking cigarettes
I have also found that checking out meditation videos on YouTube can be really helpful. Additionally, there are many different apps you can download to your phone that may be of use. To name a few, Calm, Colorfy, Dare, Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep, and Breathwork are all worth checking out. Furthermore, ASMR videos on TikTok and YouTube have been really beneficial for me. It might be worth exploring to find the type that works best for you. How to Meditate with Anxiety – This is a great site with some meditation ideas that are really helpful.
Feeling anxious? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a few tips on how to manage your anxiety.
Talking to someone can be really helpful, so why not check out one of the National help lines and websites? Or, if you’re unable to leave the house due to lockdown or isolation, these can be really useful to reach out for help.
Certain foods can be helpful too. Incorporating some of these in your diet may help reduce your anxiety. Here are 6 Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety.
Exercise can also be a great way to reduce anxiety. There are plenty of options to choose from, so find one that suits you. Here’s a Anxiety & Exercise Factsheet to get you started.
Something else that’s great to do in the comfort of your own home and is both relaxing and anxiety-reducing is Body Groove. You can find the videos on YouTube or on their website.
We hope you find some of this information helpful. Here are some resources for you to check out for more tips on managing your anxiety.
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
Anxiety Assessment & Treatment – Headspace