I could make this short and sweet and simply write “plenty of alcohol and valium”. But that is neither sustainable nor healthy, so even though I have had a few more glasses of wine than usual and a tablet or two of valium at peak anxiety times, they are not my main coping strategies.
What has been really helping is keeping busy. The adrenaline and cortisol fueling my anxiety have been pushing me to do things, so I’ve been doing them. Not necessarily terribly helpful things, like making the kitchen sparkling, but I have put some of our excess Lego up for sale, have folded, packed and donated two bags of my kids’ clothing and have dug out one of my long-forgotten craft projects ready to finish.
Clearly, I have also been blogging more and even created a recipe post for you. There are more where that one came from, so stay tuned.
Now all I need to add to my To Do list is some content creation for my business. I’ve been doing Facebook lives all over the place, but not doing enough writing, so that’s also on the agenda.
If you’re not a business person, like me, then now is the perfect time to take up a new hobby or return to an old forgotten one. Assuming you’re not busy working, looking after small children or homeschooling older ones. One of my teenagers is too anxious to attend school right now, but he’s got work from his teachers to do, so I intend for that to keep him busy until the school holidays start. I threaten him with taking him to school, whenever I see him starting to goof off.
Another thing that helps my anxiety, even during normal times is crochet. I find that it keeps my hands busy while I watch TV and stops me from constantly looking at my phone. And I get to make beautiful things. There are so many things you can make from blankets and throws, to shawls, dresses and even toys. If you’ve never crocheted or have forgotten how, I highly recommend the Crochet Crowd and Bella Coco on YouTube for great beginner tutorials.
Have I shown you my new craft space? Here it is:
I added a foldable trestle table to the end of my work desk and voila! Art and craft space. So far, I’ve only used it to play with some oil pastels, but at least I no longer have an excuse not to let my creative side out. I will set up my beading project on it next.
Another sensible piece of advice I heard is to get out in nature and let it calm your nervous system. You can do this by going for a walk in some bushland, or a park, sitting in your back yard, if you have one, or even looking out of your window onto some trees. I accidentally went to our local Botanical Gardens this week to see the display of begonias left behind from the Ballarat Begonia Festival that happens each year.
If you’re a regular or lapsed meditator, meditation can help you to calm your thoughts and body, as well as make sleep easier to come by. But I read somewhere that starting meditation in these anxious times is not a good idea as your anxious mind might be just too anxious to train right now.
Another fabulous strategy which helps me enormously with any anxiety-provoking situation, such as job interviews, difficult meetings or appointments, or anything else that you’re dreading, is time travel. Yes, you read that right – time travel. I simply imagine the moment immediately after the unpleasant event is over in as much detail as I can.
So for example, if it’s a meeting or an interview, I will imagine the moments right after it’s finished. I will visualise closing the door on the way out, walking along the corridor, riding down in the lift, walking out the building, walking down to my car, maybe taking myself out for coffee, etc. Actually, planning something nice for immediately after the unpleasant situation you’re about to face is also a great strategy.
Try thinking about what the world will be like after this pandemic is over. How will have things changed, if at all? Will employers become more comfortable with staff working from home and generally with more flexible work arrangements? How will the economy have changed? How will your neighbourhood have changed? What difference will months of homeschooling have had on your family?
Or simply imagine what it will be like when everything goes back to normal. Because it will. It is inevitable that this will become just a blip in our history books, a few crazy months in our lives and then things will return to normal.
Personally, I find it fascinating to speculate about what the world will look like post coronavirus, but I suspect it will look remarkably like it did before. Humans are like a tsunami, nothing can stop them for long. As much as I love seeing what a complete lockdown can do for a country’s pollution levels, I know we won’t change our ways. Governments and industry won’t change anything. So if it helps you to imagine that the world will return to its relative normality, use your visualisation powers to do that, at least at the scale of your family and your home.
How are you coping with the coronavirus anxiety? Are your kids home, or still at school? Has your workplace gone on lockdown like mine and are you working from home?
Tell me how you’re getting on in the comments below.