In January 2021, anxiety levels in the UK were at their highest since April 2020, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It’s not surprising given the UK entered its third lockdown and totalled more than 100,000 deaths for the first time.
The data shows that 42% of adults said that they were experiencing high anxiety in January. And when the lockdown was announced after Christmas, levels of happiness and life satisfaction also fell.
As the pandemic wears on, people are struggling to contain higher levels of anxiety. A feeling of isolation only adds to this, and as people adapt to dealing with work, financial security, home schooling and the threat of the virus itself, it’s perhaps unsurprising that pandemic induced anxiety is on the rise.
Reducing anxiety levels is absolutely vital for people to endure this period of prolonged stress. It helps to deal with everyday concerns and boosts the immune system. More than this, everyone deserves a break from the kinds of worries that plague us due to the pandemic. It can feel that the headlines only bring bad news and that there is nothing to look forward to.
It’s important to admit to yourself and to your loved ones if you are struggling with anxiety. This allows you to set time aside to help yourself. Read on for some things you can do from home to help manage anxiety levels. Try as many as possible and see what you can do to help your general state of mind.
If you are also dealing with a mental health disorder, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or any one of a number of other clinical conditions, it may feel that your anxiety is now unmanageable.
Take a breath and take control over your own levels of anxiety. There is always a way to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and remember that it is OK to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Try the following to see whether you can help lower your personal stress levels.
Stress creates mental and physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue to digestive discomfort. And while exercise and nutrition are both important, it can be a good idea to take some additional supplements too. Several vitamin and mineral supplements can directly help the symptoms of stress, whether it’s melatonin to help you sleep more deeply or rhodiola rosea for exhaustion. Check out a number of vitamins and minerals that could help you here.
Technology can help us work online, do business online and manage our finances. It also provides 24/7 access to world news. And while all of these things are important, technology can also be used for creative and anxiety reducing purposes. So if you find yourself doomscrolling headlines on Twitter, switch to a virtual museum tour to give your brain a break. More than 500 museums and galleries all around the world are available through Google Arts & Culture with virtual tours through fabulous works of art.
Exercise is hugely important in the battle against anxiety and depression. Not only does it help your body stay fit, exercise boosts your immune system and your general mood. Combine walking outside every day with some kind of online exercise. Choose from the vast array of apps, programmes and online classes available. It doesn’t really matter which you select, as long as you do some exercise regularly.
There is something intrinsically comforting about watching animals get on with their lives, regardless of the situation facing human beings. While we’re dealing with the pandemic, we can also watch all kinds of creatures get on with their lives via webcams on Explore.org. Everywhere you look, eagles are nesting, dolphins swimming and puppies being cute. Try it and see how much it can soothe your mind.
This probably sounds stressful in itself but trust us. Take regular breaks to do nothing at all. There is even a website that guides you through doing nothing for two minutes at a time. Just listen to the waves and stay still. It can feel difficult in the same way that meditation does when you start out. But it’s a concept designed by the developers of the Calm app, who have plenty of data to show that it works for managing anxiety.
Regular massages can do wonders for your mental health. Of course, lockdown means that we’re all separated from any massage experts, but it is possible to learn how to massage yourself. Check out this YouTube tutorial to start off with, and then Google how to target specific areas around your body.
The beauty of a creative pursuit, and we include reading in this, is that it’s possible to become fully immersed in it. So, whether you like paint, sew, make models or do any of the many creative hobbies available, set time aside to do it. If you’re not in the habit of being creative, start learning. You can just try all kinds of different hobbies until you find one that shuts off your anxiety, at least for a while.
At the end of the day, this is an unprecedently difficult time for us all. And as we approach the first anniversary of COVID-19, it’s difficult to remain positive about the future. Take it day by day and work on your own anxiety levels. This will make it easier to deal with whatever comes next.