1.AVOID HEALTH-RELATED NEWS
You want to stay up to date so check once a day for new advice and central government instructions. Then STOP. When you are anxious the need to check can become compulsive and that will FEED THE ANXIETY BEAST. If there is someone you trust who is less anxious then let them help. Avoid the news altogether (online, social media and TV) and ask that less-anxious person tell you only things you NEED to know.
2.TRY NOT TO SEEK CONSTANT REASSURANCE
It may seem a good idea to keep asking for reassurance from others as it helps to make you feel calm in the short term but that builds up into a loop. It’s natural for you to want to be told all will be OK but if you or others notice you doing this a lot then think about distraction techniques.
3.DO NOT ASK DR GOOGLE
Google is not the place to ask for medical advice, either for just looking up symptoms or going onto health message boards. DO use the NHS (or your local health authority) website for reliable advice. In the UK go to https://111.nhs.uk for advice
Take your thoughts to court! This is what therapists might ask you to do to confront and rationalise your thoughts. As an example, if your thought is "everyone I love is going to die of Coronavirus" take it to court! Get the rational “lawyer” part of your brain to counter the thought with something like “actually most people who get this virus are likely to recover and some will not get any symptoms at all.” Just thinking about something does not make it happen or make it true!
5.DO SOME EXERCISE
Any kind of safe exercise is good
6.BREATHING AND GROUNDING EXERCISE
Breathe in a few times and see how many counts it takes to fill up your lungs and then close your mouth and form a tiny hole with your lips as if you were going to gently blow out a candle and blow all the air out of your lungs. Make it last at least two counts more than your inbreath.
Also, get something you like the smell of, for example a cut lemon, some herbs, nice handcream and breath in and out whilst using the smell to focus on. Just think about the smell - what colour is it? What good things does it remind you of?
7.IF YOU REALLY FEEL YOU MUST WORRY - SCHEDULE IT!
This may sound very silly but try it and see how it works - you can choose 30 minutes of worry per day. you can worry as much as you like (but still no Googling or news!!) and then you have to do something else. You may find that this is one of the most helpful techniques of all.
If you can, find something that feels as if it is a treat, for example if you can have a nice bath, listen to some music, cook something or even just go for a walk at safe distance from others.
9.IT WILL PASS
When we are stuck in anxiety, it really feel like it will be here for ever, but think about a time when you felt less anxious. That means you can feel like that again. Please try and remember this as it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your kids.
THE WORST CASE SCENARIO IS RARELY HOW THINGS TURN OUT IN REALITY
One young woman that I work with who has brilliantly overcome anxixety tells me that it's good to see the difference between healthy and not-so-healthy disctractions. TV is good, but not all day long and certainly not at night when you should be sleeping. Also TV with the news is not a good distraction of course but watching something that makes you laugh, makes you think, teaches you something or is just plain entertaining is! She suggests reading, walking, listening to music, doing some art and maybe even mastering a new skill that might be good once normal life resumes. What about learning a new language, cooking skills, yoga...you get the idea?!
(Thank you to S for this suggestion)
PARENTS! TRY TO MODEL ALL OF THE ABOVE TO YOUR KIDS