Anxiety – 5 ways to deal with it on a budget
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a type of worrying, where it is difficult to get rid of your worries. Living with anxiety is really unpleasant. It can be very hard to relax, your sleep can be disturbed and worries go round and round your head on replay. If not dealt with it can potentially lead to panic attacks and depression. You know you are really suffering when you start worrying that you are worrying too much. You want to stop worrying, but you don’t know how to.
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I suffer from anxiety sometimes
I have been through a period of anxiety and panic attacks in the past and found a lot of things that really helped me through.
Since the virus outbreak I haven’t slept as well as usual and at the beginning felt moments of anxiety flare up. That is without anything bad happening specifically to us.
To start off with, I just felt like I was going around with my mouth wide open in shock. Then I got a feeling of building unease, next anxiety and then I took some steps to limit it before it got worse. I still don’t feel entirely normal (does anyone right now?), but I feel much better than I would if I didn’t do these things.
If you suffer from anxiety there is help out there
I imagine that a lot of people are suffering from anxiety right now, much more so than usual. If that is happening to you, know this – you are not alone. There is a lot of help out there that you can access for free, or for very little and there are things you can do to feel better.
Obviously I am not a professional and this is not medical advice. But I am sharing some of the things that help me when I’m feeling anxious, plus some further ideas in the hopes that they can be of help to you too.
If you need to speak to someone urgently, call the Samaritans at any time for free on 116 123 .
5 ways to tackle anxiety on a budget
1. Tackle anxiety by making a risk register
Back in my internal audit days, at times I audited risk registers. A risk register is basically a list of all the key risks you (or an organisation) are facing right now. Then against each risk, you work out what action you can take to reduce it and how you will deal with it, if the worst happens. Finally you take the actions and you keep updating your risk register as things change.
If you have a long list of worries going round and round your head, write them down and brainstorm what you can do about each of them. Then take the actions that you can/ note the back up plans you will follow in case of emergency.
There will be some things that you can do nothing or very little about and in that case the best thing you can do is let go of trying to control them.
2. Let go of the things you can’t control
It can be very difficult to let go of worries, because we can mistakenly think that the worrying is protecting us and that if we let our guard down then bad things will happen. In reality though that isn’t true at all. Excessive worrying is a totally unproductive way to protect yourself. Having the worry in the first place is useful because it alerts us to a problem, but once we have got to work on solving the problem, or realising we can’t do anything about it, it is time to let the worry go – it has done it’s job.
3. Get/ ask for help with your anxiety
Cognitive behavioural therapy can be helpful if you are having trouble overcoming anxiety and letting go of those worries. You might be able to get an appointment to speak to someone over the phone or online. Find out what services are available from your local NHS. In some places you can self refer to wellbeing services. Also there are free workbooks you can access online via the site of a brilliant therapist that helped me – Anxiety CBT workbooks
If you have kids that have excessive worries – this book: What to do when you worry too much* is really good and even though it is aimed at kids, it can help adults too.
4. Do exercise
Doing exercise can be great for improving mood. In China, one guy stuck in his apartment on lockdown ran a 31 miles in his living room. He reported feeling great afterwards. So even if you are stuck in doors with no exercise equipment you can still get fit.
I was training for the Brighton marathon before everything kicked off. The guy who runs the running group I go to, said he didn’t recommend doing longer runs at the moment. He said it can weaken your immune system. So I wouldn’t recommend running quite that far right now, but shorter runs will be really good.
If you are thinking of taking up running for the first time, set yourself a challenge. Start off with aiming for running 5k and once you get there see if you can run faster or further. When you are pushing yourself you have to take a break from worrying because you don’t have brain power for anything else!
Many of us, especially those with kids, have all kinds of sports equipment and activities we can do at home. Now is the time to make use of the space and equipment you have. Also you and the kids can take part in Joe Wicks 30 minute long daily P.E. lessons online at 9.00 term time.
5. Make art
You do not have to be good at art to do this one. I started doodling a few years ago and I just draw random shapes with random patterns in them. When I draw the random shapes it really feels like I am letting go. There are no rules, I just let it all out. Even scribbling all over a piece of paper can feel good! Then I slow down to make the patterns and the lack of screens or information or brain challenge involved can be very relaxing.
I was so surprised that I liked the pictures that I drew. You never know you might surprise yourself with a hidden talent! Even if you are rubbish at art, you can still benefit from doing it. Plus art encompasses a wide range of activities. See if there is one that you like.
Art can be a great way to help kids feel calmer at this time too. Take a look a this lock down post on Red Ted Art for lots of great ideas.
Don’t let your anxiety win – tell it to get lost.
I hope these tips were helpful. If they didn’t cut it for you, keep looking for ways to kick your anxiety out. It is worth it because you will be able to deal with all the things worrying you far better and have a greater chance of solving them too.
I hope you are all staying safe and well during these incredibly challenging times and that you win out against anxiety if you are suffering from it.