Many of us are feeling anxious about coronavirus - the constant flow of information and news about the outbreak making it difficult to control our worries and fears. These anxious feelings can affect your daily life, work and relationships. Here are some ways to help prioritise your mental and physical health during this difficult time.
Symptoms of anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety in their own way but here are a few common symptoms:
- A constant sense of dread
- Feeling on edge or irritable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle aches and tension
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach ache
The following habits have been shown to help people deal with anxiety:
Practicing mindfulness will help you notice when you're relying on unhelpful habits to cope with anxiety and make it easier to change them into helpful habits. You could try CABA's mindfulness for beginners online course to get you started. You could also download an app like Headspace or Calm.
Change your thinking habits
If you know that you tend to dwell on negative or upsetting things, try starting a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, write down 3 things that you're grateful for that day – no matter how small they might be. Research shows that this simple exercise helps 'rewire' your brain to notice more positive things and reduces stressful thinking.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing
Breathing using your diaphragm helps you relax. Lie on your back with your hands on your tummy. Breathe through your nose and let your breath deepen in its own time.
Talk it out
You don't need to do everything on your own. Try talking things through with a supportive friend or loved one. An independent view can give a fresh perspective on the things you've been dwelling on.
The act of humming stimulates your vagus nerve which regulates your relaxation response and extends your exhale. When your exhale is longer than your inhale, your body naturally produces relaxing hormones.
Physical activity causes a chemical change in your brain that positively alters your mood. There's no need to go to the gym, just getting out for a walk in the daylight every day if you can can improve your health and fitness. If you’re in quarantine, self-isolating or working from home, here are tips for exercising at home.
Stay hydrated and eat well
While sweet treats might give short-term comfort, they lead to a blood sugar rollercoaster. Low or crashing blood sugar and dehydration can make anxiety feel worse. Stay warm and hydrated with plenty of hot soups and herbal tea.
CABA provide lifelong support to past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff, and their close family members.
If you’re worried about the impact of the coronavirus on you and your family, find out how CABA can support you.