Some “Pandemic” tips to help keep some folks “sane.”
The Struggle of Living with Anxiety in Times of Crisis: How to Stay Sane
Let me tell you, living with anxiety is beyond difficult. So, you can imagine how it feels being anxious during a crisis.
I’ve lived with anxiety as long as I can remember, even dealing with panic attacks during grade school. This illness didn’t just make me a little nervous – it was much worse than that. It was so bad that I spent many days of my childhood with a child psychologist trying to stay in touch with reality.
The struggles of living with anxiety
It was a daily struggle. It was one that a little girl couldn’t comprehend. Living with anxiety made it hard to function without help. As a small child, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, and so I needed someone to listen. These were during times that I was secretly being abused by a relative. But the good news is, I did survive those times.
Yes, my anxiety came as a result of childhood trauma, and now I live with it during semi-normal times as well. When everything in the world is just peachy, I still have panic attacks and unbearable thoughts. The panic attacks, they come as either trigger or just sneak up on me for no apparent reason.
So, when another crisis arises, anxiety can only get worse. However, there are ways to stay sane when things go south.
How to ward off insanity during a crisis?
1. Step away from media
When reports of deaths or sicknesses clog the media, it’s easy for anxiety to rear its ugly head. You start thinking about how to stay safe during the sickness, and whether or not you will survive if you contract the contagion. The media reports daily the number of deaths and infected, and so your anxiety levels have a greater risk of skyrocketing.
Here’s what you do. You turn off the television, get off the computer, and put down your phone. Take a break from the media, at least for several hours and do something else.
Even though the crisis may be very real, you can take your mind away from it just for a little while. You can even pretend it’s not there, but just also remember to come back to reality and stick with precautions because it does exist. I think you get my idea.
2. Focus on your health
Taking your mind away from the crisis by focusing on your physical health will help with anxiety. For instance, ingesting plenty of vitamin C and eating healthy meals will help you to stay on top of proper nutrition.
Also, plenty of exercises, even if you feel you should stay inside, will help lower anxiety levels. Yoga is a good example of physical and mental exercise in one. So instead of letting anxiety take over your life, allow your health and wellbeing to take over your anxiety. This will take some practice but will help you keep your head above water.
3. Take it easy
While many people will argue with you about sleeping too much or laying around, this option might actually work for you when it comes to anxiety. Yes, you do need to stay healthy with exercise and mindfulness techniques, but you also need downtime. If this downtime includes sleeping off and on for a couple of days to recuperate, then that’s what you should do.
Anxiety has a way of completely robbing you of sanity while you try to stay fit and healthy, and if you need to check out for a while, it’s okay. Yes, napping is sometimes all you can do to stay sane.
4. Become consistent with your care
During some traumatic times, like during disease outbreaks, you will be instructed to use safety precautions and hygienic practices. While you should always wash your hands and stay clean, when a crisis hits, the act of cleanliness will be crucial to your survival. So, instead of panicking, try staying consistent with hand washing, sterilization, and cleaning.
When you take appropriate action in your life, it decreases anxiety. You feel like you have a great purpose to protect yourself and your family. Each day, try harder to be a bit more consistent until you’ve created a full day of precautions and protection. After a while, these measures will become fun and even a part of your normal routine. Things won’t feel so chaotic anymore.
5. Help others
If you happen to be someone who cannot self-quarantine during a crisis, and your services are needed, then, by all means, help anyone you can. Work hard during these days to keep your mind off the chance of negative things happening.
Yes, stay positive, restock, serve free meals, provide transportation, and if you can, help some people financially. When you’re busy focusing on the needs of others, your anxiety will see these moves as routine. As stated above, anxiety is bound by routine actions.
6. Don’t completely isolate
Yes, it’s important to stay away from the infected if you are going through a health crisis. However, you can keep in contact with friends via social media or by phone. This doesn’t mean that you should wander off and drown yourself in the negativity of the media again.
When you can, call your extended family and friends to make sure they are doing well too. Not only do they appreciate your thoughts, but it breaks up the monotony of being alone living with anxiety during times of mandatory isolation.
7. Educate others
If you have important information to share about a crisis, it’s your responsibility to share these instructions. For instance, when there’s an epidemic or outbreak of some kind, it’s imperative that you share what you know about how to stay safe and clean.
Teach your children what they need to know during this time as well. This has a double impact on your life: you will help educate and you will take your mind off your own fears for a moment.
All things pass in time
Both good and bad times change. There are pros and cons to this truth. If you’re living with the insanity of anxiety, then it’s important to find ways to feel sane again. It might not be easy to keep calm during things like pandemics, but it’s still important to do so.
I encourage you to offer even more insight into this, and I hope you share more ideas for retaining your sanity during a crisis. You may have anxiety, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose control.
Let’s hear about how you keep it together during the chaos.