During the unsettling times there is not much we can do to help the situation. We can watch news, read articles, trying to stay informed, or we can focus on our well-being instead, because at the end of the day it is the only thing, we can somewhat control, and it's the only thing that matters.
If you read my blog, you know I am struggling with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). When triggered, my anxiety can be uncontrollable. It consumes not only my mind but also my body. Through many years I have been dealing with this condition I have made some very bad mistakes, that negatively impacted my mental and physical health. One of those mistakes was not recognizing my own strengths and weaknesses and just irresponsibly sabotaging my health. I am now aware what triggers me and what is the best thing to do in times like this one. Hopefully you can implement some of these tips in your life, and they will help you in your recovery journey.
What calms anxiety during unsettling times
1. Less is more. Even though the urge to know everything can be very strong, too much information is so overwhelming that we can easily lose the moment when we start freaking out. There is information we better know if we need to make certain lifestyle changes or what not, but there are news that simply lead to more chaos and anxiety, that are better to avoid.
I learnt to recognize when it is too much for me, and when to disconnect. I try to receive only useful or helpful information. I almost don't read news. It helps me to stay sane and sleep well at night.
2. Focus on what you can control. Panic leads to destruction. As human beings we like sense of control, but there are things we absolutely can't control. It's important to be able to distinguish controllable things from uncontrollable ones and be able to focus on what we have some power over.
Focusing on things we can control is not only more efficient, but it also helps us feel strong as oppose to helpless and overwhelmed by unnecessary information. It does help to avoid anxiety and fear.
3. Distract yourself and don't let others bring you down. Focusing on things you can control will bring you extra time when you can do what you enjoy doing and have conversations that you like. There's no need to constantly talk about the issues and things that go wrong. Keeping a positive mindset is crucial for helping yourself deal with stress and anxiety.
It's important to set boundaries with other people as well. If someone keeps talking about problems and all they want to do is to bring the same issue in the conversation repeatedly you should be able to let them know you are not up to this. View it as a self-defence mechanism.
4. There is time for everything. Worries and anxiety are inevitable part of life. Sometimes I wish I could close my eyes and ears and simply not know anything, but at the end of the day some information can be useful and necessary. I'd like to flag that the best time for it should be morning (not right after waking up) or afternoon.
I highly recommend not to check news before bed, if you are an anxious person. Not only it may keep you from falling asleep, but even if you do eventually fall asleep, you'll be dreaming about it and your night just won't be as restful as you need. Choose the time for your activities wisely. Stick to your night routine.
5. Take care of yourself. It is easy to get distracted by bad news and forget about the importance of taking care of yourself: mentally and physically. If it is still possible, don't neglect yourself, do things that are good for you. Your body doesn't know what's going on (it is basically like your baby), so your mind is in charge of everything you let effect you. Try to eat well, sleep well and use relaxation techniques to help your body function properly. Take it slow and easy as you want to strengthen yourself, not to wear yourself out.
These are the small tips that I find helpful for my anxiety. I do know that if I let negativity and worry overwhelm me, it will be hard for me to recover from another breakdown. Hardships pass, but recovery takes months or even years (depending on the damage that was done).
If you have your tips on how to avoid or deal with anxiety during hard times, please comment below, I am looking forward to hear from you.