Are you noticing you are (still) feeling Anxious? You are not alone. You are in good company. Our recovery from the not -quite -yet -over pandemic is a daily event, with unknowns of new variants, economic ramifications, family life modifications, and more.
These are still challenging times. Many of us were stressed enough prior to the pandemic just trying to keep our head above water with work, and /or school and / or family roles and responsibilities.
Waking up feeling like there’s not enough minutes in the day to accomplish all of our to do’s can bring on anxious feelings.
If any of this describes you, it is important to understand that Anxiety is not just one thing. It can be experienced in a very different way and occur under different circumstances for different people.
Some have what is known as GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. People with GAD are more likely to experience some level of anxiety from dawn to dusk. While certain people or situations may exacerbate their anxiety, it is like an uninvited guest who keeps showing up day after day.
Other types of Anxiety can fall under categories like Social Anxiety, as in feeling anxious when meeting new people or going to a party, or performance anxiety which may occur when taking a test or giving a presentation.
Anxiety can be spurred on by thinking about how our lives have changed as a result of a major life event like a pandemic- Questions like how long will this affect my ability to bounce back financially, or regain a feeling of job or business security can loom large.
We humans like predictability- and most of the circumstances of our lives have been anything but predictable since Covid-19 came on the scene.
With that said, it is important to tune inwardly and notice how you are feeling when anxious symptoms show up, and to be prepared with your emotional toolbox / “anxiety first aid kit” that you can implement on the spot and with compassion.
For those that have anxious moments that can escalate into panic attacks, having a strategy to cope can be a Godsend.
Here’s some ideas to get your emotional toolbox filled.
1. Begin to tune inwardly. Notice your signs and symptoms of anxiety. Do you get sweaty palms, feel your heartbeat in your chest, or experience shortness of breath? Tune in and identify what these signs are for you and notice when they seem to occur most frequently.
2. Start a Log or Journal. As you increase your awareness, start writing down where you are, who is present, what you are doing, and even “what’s next” as you begin to become a detective to see patterns that may emerge that can help you identify your triggers.
3. Plan for your most common triggers. If you find your anxiety spikes right before a weekly meeting at work, begin to be curious about what that may be about. Is there a mean boss who attends, a coworker who is adversarial or dismissive, or a situation at home that seems to trigger you frequently?
4. Make time to plan your strategy list. This is a list you create in a calm moment when you are not feeling tense, anxious or panicky. Consider simple things you can do like deep breathing, praying, meditating, getting a change of scenery to help you cope.
5. Be willing to experiment. Not all interventions work for all people all of the time.
Be willing to excuse yourself from a meeting if you need to go intervene with yourself so you can return to a situation feeling more calm and in control.
It is also imperative to start to notice your thoughts. Often our thoughts precede our feelings of anxiety. If I “chew” on the thought that I will never measure up, then the more I chew on that thought, the more anxious I am likely to feel.
If I tell myself a story that the pandemic and all the new variants means life will never return to normal, that may lead me down a road of sadness, frustration or even depression.
Pay attention to your thoughts. Challenge the thoughts that do not serve you well or serve to spike your anxious feelings. Tell yourself a story that is more accurate. Just because you think a thought does not make it true.
Need more help or intervention with your anxiety? You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can connect you to a professional that may help you with this issue.
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