Is it normal to feel anxious?

This is a very different and potentially stressful situation at present. Whilst recognising that we're entering a phase where our usual lifestyle and routine is affected, anxiety or worry is perfectly reasonable in abnormal situations like this.

Worry isn’t just in our heads. When it becomes excessive we feel it as anxiety in our bodies too. Physical symptoms of worry and anxiety include:

  • Muscle tension or aches and pains.
  • Restlessness and an inability to relax.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Feeling easily fatigued.

It is natural for you to worry at the moment, but if you feel that it's becoming excessive and taking over your life – for example if it's making you anxious, or if you're struggling to sleep – then it might be worth trying to find ways to limit the time you spend worrying, and taking steps to manage your well-being.

 

Tips to help manage your wellbeing

Manage your media exposure

Reading and watching lots of news can sometimes increase anxiety and cause confusion. Check reliable sources and keep up to date with relevant advice. Limit the amount of time spent checking social media and try to avoid replying to personal views and opinions. For up to date advice we recommend checking the gov.uk website or national updates.

Check-in 

Remember to speak with family and friends and be open about how you feel – By speaking to others this will allow you to control how you are feeling and help to share ways in which you can cope with any feelings of anxiety. Try virtual chats as well as text and email. Face to face interaction virtually can be really useful to reduce anxiety rather than text alone.

If you’re a Brain Injury Matters service user, you can join our Private Facebook Group or join in on our weekly wellbeing skype calls

 

Look After Your Wellbeing By Finding Balance

With the current health situation, many of our normal routines and daily activities are changing. Naturally this can be unsettling, and we can find that the things we usually did to look after our well-being have become difficult.

It can be helpful to organise a daily routine that involves a balance between activities that:

  • give you a sense of achievement,
  • help you feel close and connected with others and
  • activities that you can do just for pleasure

Taken from https://www.psychologytools.com/assets/covid-19/guide_to_living_with_worry_and_anxiety_amidst_global_uncertainty_en-gb.pdf

Pick something to do today

Be Active

Go for a walk

Use an exercise video at home

Do chores

Clean

Mind

Daydream

Meditate (see advice below)

Reflect

Think

Connect With People

Send a message to a friend

Reconnect with an old friend

Join a group

Music

Listen to music you like

Find new music to listen to

Turn on the radio

Make some music

Cook

Cook a meal for yourself or someone else

Bake a cake/cookies

Try out a new recipe 

Plan

Set a goal

Make a 'to do' list

Make a 'bucket list'

Create

Draw/paint

Make a photograph album

Start a scrapbook

Doodle

Sew/knit

Play

A board game with your family

A video game

An instrument

Kindness

Help a friend/neighbour/stranger

Make a gift for someone

Teach somebody a skill

Plan a surprise for someone

Make a list of your good points

Make a list of things or people you are grateful for

Try Something New

Try new food

Listen to new music

Watch a new TV show or movie

Read a new book

Do something spontaneous

Try some mindfulness exercises

Here are a few exercises you could try. You don't need any special equipment:

  • Mindful eating.This involves paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat. For example, when drinking a cup of tea or coffee you could focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
  • Mindful moving, walking or running.Notice the feeling of your body moving. You might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or nearby surfaces, and the different smells that are around you.
  • Body scan.This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of the body, starting from your head down. You could focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling or relaxation of different parts of your body.
  • Mindful colouring and drawing.Focus on the colours and the sensation of your pencil against the paper, rather than trying to draw something in particular. You could use a mindfulness colouring book or download mindfulness colouring images.
  • Mindful meditation.This involves sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing, your thoughts, sensations in your body and the things you can hear around you. Try to bring you focus back to the present if your mind starts to wander. Many people also find that yoga helps them to concentrate on their breathing and focus on the present moment.

  For more information on mindfulness, go to www.mind.org.uk

 

Some final tips

For reputable news sources see links below to

Further resources that may be helpful regarding maintaining mental health and wellbeing.

Action Mental Health - https://www.amh.org.uk/new-life-counselling/

Advice NI - www.adviceni.net/advice

Aware NI - www.aware-ni.org/how-we-can-help-you/talk-to-us

Mind - www.mind.org.uk/

Samaritans Belfast - 116 123 (free from any phone)