5 Top Tips to reduce Anxiety or Depression with Coronavirus Self-Isolation

1. It’s OK to feel a bit anxious or depressed right now.

If you’ve experienced anxiety or depression before, you may be constantly on the look out for signs that it’s returning. You can then become “anxious about the anxiety”. If you find yourself feeling low, indecisive or worried, remind yourself that most of the World are with you at the moment. Kindly tell yourself “It’s understandable to be feeling like this right now”.

2 Concentrate on what you can control

We all strive for certainty. Often, we fool ourselves into thinking we are in control far more than we are. For example, every time we get into our cars, we take a risk but we feel in control. Try to concentrate on what you can do. That diy project? Keeping in contact with a vulnerable loved one? Giving yourself permission to do nothing for a few hours?

3 Adapt to the new reality for now. Are you a power boat or an oil tanker?

Our holiday plans have been blown away. Our income has taken a big hit. Our favourite pastimes are now cancelled. It is normal for us all to grieve our lost plans and old certainties but if we dwell too long on what we have lost, we fail to take the best possible action now. An oil tanker takes a long time to change course but if you can be a power boat you will be better able to adapt. One trick is to write down a list of what you are going to do in the next 5 days. This can help you focus on the here and now.

4. Be aware of your personality type?

You will know some people who seem to be taking this in their stride whilst others are catastrophising and barely able to function. One of the 5 main personality traits is the neurotic. Neurotics will generally see the worst-case scenario as the most likely. If this is you, remind yourself how many times to have thought the worst and how many times it actually happened. That’s not to say we should be a Pollyanna or in denial about the seriousness of the situation. Rather, we can appreciate that we will find a vaccine and perhaps that as this virus could have been even worse, this may be the warning that makes us far more prepared in the future.

5. Don’t binge on the coverage.

One way we try to gain mastery over a scary situation is to constantly look at it. We are hard-wired to do this. As cavemen, if we thought we saw danger in a bush, we would keep our eyes on the bush. Of course, we need to keep up to date with the latest information but binging on it (particularly the scaremongering on social media) is unhelpful. What we need to do is pretty simple so give yourself time to “switch off” by watching tv (not the news channel), doing some gardening or cooking etc. Your brain needs a break too.

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