Ever since pandemic started, I have been thinking how I can make my life a little bit better despite the stress and the burden of the current situation. It's not easy for anyone, and even though many of us have adapted a little bit, mental health problems are still on a rise.
There are things that we absolutely can't control. I am not trying to close my eyes to reality, and say that if you make these little changes, your life will be perfect all the sudden. But I honestly believe these changes can make a big difference, and if you make them, they will most likely help to calm anxiety. So, what are 5 things that make your anxiety worse?
So, doomscrolling is consuming a large quantity of negative news online at once. Have you ever caught yourself scrolling through bad news one by one and getting overwhelmed but still unable to stop? That's doomscrolling!
In the long term it can increase levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which may have a negative impact on your overall health.
The longer you scroll the easier it is for you to start catastrophizing, that can lead you to having a panic attack. Reading something you know will upset you feeds your negative thinking cycle and primes you to expect the worst.
You are not helping yourself by knowing every single piece of information that exists on the Internet. Just read what's important and learn to stop scrolling as soon as possible.
Trying to be (to feel) perfect
When news about pandemic hit last March, many people talked about productivity and the importance of staying productive during this uncertain time. Productivity or keeping yourself busy and distracted can make a good coping strategy, unless we realize that current situation is a bit (to say the least) different from "normal". Despite the virus has been around for a year, it still sometimes feels like a bad dream that we keep seeing over and over again. It's not so easy to close our eyes and forget about the uncertainty and fear, and that's ok. Letting those "negative" emotions rise and facing them is important for anxiety to subside. The longer we suppress them, the worse it will be.
Staying productive is good, but knowing your limits is equally important. If it’s one of those days when you don’t feel like “being the best version of yourself”, let yourself rest. You will feel much better if you accept that with the “new normal” comes a slightly “newer you”, and it’s ok. Try to avoid negative self-talk.
Not having a budget
I'm sure, most people know by now, that financial anxiety is an actual thing. But I think it's still important to mention it here. My own situation is far from stable, I deal with financial anxiety regularly. What I found is helpful to me is budgeting, embracing minimalism, and focusing on what I already have instead of buying new stuff. I have been watching "low-buy" challenges that people take up this year, and I think it's a great idea. Mostly because we can see that many people are currently struggling, and we are not alone.
I don't take part in any challenges as I don't do well with strict rules, but what I am focusing on is just spending less, consuming mindfully (buying what I need (being honest with myself), waiting for "special" occasions to buy something, waiting for discounts, etc.). I also like to watch channels on YouTube that recommend cheaper versions of something (dupes) that doesn't need to be super expensive (for example, most skincare products that are effective are not expensive).
Not having a nighttime routine
Sleep is extremely important for our mental health. If you are dealing with night anxiety, it can severely damage your sleep quality. As a person who deals with it, I really do understand. There are a few things that I recommend for improving sleep, you can check it out here. I personally think that nighttime routine is more important than a morning routine because it does actually work for improving sleep.
Try to disconnect in the evenings if you can: don't scroll, don't listen to news, try to forget about the situation by incorporating mindful practices like meditation, night yoga, even reading. It can be hard to stop thinking about the problems you have in your life but having a nighttime routine and sticking to it can help to signal your brain that it's time to relax, and in the morning, you can start thinking about it again.
Important! If you struggle from severe anxiety and insomnia, seek medical help, as there are options that can help.
Not going outside
Being stuck at home can really make anxiety worse. As well as lack of movement. Yes, our life isn’t the same, but most of us are still allowed to go on walks. Psychologists suggest that even “10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout”. It’s great because I often think that I don’t want to go on long walks, but short ones are always possible to do and they do bring benefits.
Depending on your physical condition, exercise can be very beneficial dealing with stress that gets accumulated during the day. I personally prefer walking outside and light yoga (stretching). If you can do something more intense, go for it. Try not to let negative energy sit in your body for a long time, let it out.
There you have it, 5 things that can majorly contribute to your anxiety. When it comes down to mental illness, every little detail matters. Try to change something and see how it works for you.