Feeling Anxious? Me Too! - [website] Email Print
Published: 1st of Jul 2020 by: Shona Potgieter

Anxiety. Something a lot of people struggle with, with varying degrees of severity, but it’s real and it can really hinder your work as well as your personal life.

For many of us, anxiety was something we felt before a presentation or before a job interview, we were of course still faced with our normal stresses of traffic, meetings, projects or the time we have in the day to get things done. But anxiety? That only really showed up for the 'big things'...

And then Rona showed up, yep, miss Corona Virus- formally known as COVID-19. Rona brought with her the National Lockdown, which was supposed to last only 2 weeks. A fact many of us could wrap our heads around and deal with. But we're now 3 months in (something like that- I've lost track of time) and we're half way through 2020. How did that even happen...?

I digress, the point is that Lockdown brought with it many challenges. Where we were usually just stressed, many of us now felt genuine anxiety over the future, our jobs, and businesses. So many people faced financial crises, so many lost jobs. I feel a pit in my stomach as I'm writing this, because the fact is that even now in the "upgraded" level 3 where things are starting to turn toward normality, we still feel that anxiety, and almost a sense of ptsd.

Personally, I have been dealing with it too. And so this blog was born...
For me it was a soul crushing dread, sitting on the kitchen floor watching the banana bread bake in the oven (yes I was part of the Lockdown cliche') and then suddenly tears. I was overwhelmed with fear and so anxious about what would happen if we couldn't get paid. How would I pay rent and if I had to move back home to my parents then what about my cats? It spiralled all the way into thoughts of having to find my cats new homes and having to make sure Percy and Lilly are homed together, because Fomo doesn't much like either of them so she would definitely have to go to a new home with Spyro. Now don't get me wrong- I am by no means someone who would just rehome pets, I love my furkids and would fight tooth and nail for them, but that's just how far anxiety pushed my overthinking. To a point where everything felt hopeless and like life was falling apart.
I have many stories of how anxiety affected me, and still does, as well as the guilt that follows because so many people have it worse off than I do and I'm still in a privileged position so what am I crying about.

Anyway, the point of this blog was to share some tips on how I have come to deal with it. Now remember, I'm no expert in the field of psychiatry or an expert on anxiety whatsoever, this is just my personal point of view on the matter. So no need to report me to the medical board and please don't feel like I'm shoving these tips down your throat and presenting them as a cure- It's what helped me, so use them- don't use them, up to you.

1. Time Management is King!

I would wake up every morning, ready for work, but then look at my computer, think of what needs to be done and hit a wall. My job is to create and post content on our social media pages, I need to be creative, hitting a wall is not ideal. It would make me feel extra anxious because I don't want people thinking I'm not doing my job...
So I decided to practice what we preach at Staff Training and work on my time management. I blocked out time for content creation, referred back to the best posting times and blocked that out too. I went back to scheduling time for the things I want to get done and looking at the time-frames I can give each little project. I set out time to sit down and have lunch on the balcony, as well as body breaks- where I could just get away from the computer for a bit and refresh my mind. Cue creativity and we're back on track!

2. Breathe

This sound like a no-brainer, I mean breathing is something our bodies just do. But what I'm talking about is focusing on your breath, consciously taking a deep breath in when things start to feel overwhelming and scary. There are so many breathing exercises out there, but one of my personal favourites is one I learned in Uni, while studying Drama and Theatre Arts. Take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 and breathe out for 5. Repeat this twice, then increase your breath counts to 7 and work your way up to 10 if you can.

3. Take care of your body

When I feel stressed or anxious, I want to eat everything. And some people are the opposite. But the point is to fuel your body with food that is packed with nutrients, don't stuff is full of processed foods or not feed it at all. And drink enough water!

Exercise is another 'must'. Go for a walk and get some fresh air. Or if you're up for it, smashing out a home workout or even just a chilled yoga session as a quick stretch will do the world of good.

Getting some sun is another thing that helped me feel better. Step outside every now and then and let the sun fill you with rays of positivity!

4. Take time for yourself

This can be quite difficult, I can imagine a lot of moms or wives struggling with this. I'm not a mom (to human kids) or a wife, just a girlfriend and a millennial and even I struggle with this. But I am mindful of the fact that taking time for yourself is something that can feel selfish. It isn't though- your partners and kids don't want a perfect mom or wife or girlfriend, I'm pretty sure they want a happy one. So take some time to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine or put on that face mask and rock it out to your favourite tunes. This isn't a 'one size fits all' deal, do what works for you, whether it's reading your book, binge watching your favourite series on Netflix, journaling or gardening. Sometimes it's the small things that make us feel lighter and ready for a new day.

I think we are so often focused on everything that is expected of us, or what we believe is expected of us, that we can be really hard on ourselves. The truth is, Lockdown has had an effect on all of us, don't be fooled. It's been really tough and stressful. Be sure to check in with yourself and if need be,please speak up and get help. You are not alone.

In conclusion, don't forget to drink water and get some sun, because you're basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions. Just kidding! Stay positive and be kind to yourself and others.

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.
Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660

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