Anxiety during a pandemic
Like everyone, I’ve been struggling with waves of high anxiety during this pandemic. I find that when my routine is normal as it can be, and I’m working, then I’ll be distracted enough to carry on and ignore most of the creeping thoughts and physical symptoms that come with it.
This past long weekend, I found myself with nothing to do. Friday was busy, lunch with a friend, shopping. It should have felt a bit more ‘normal’ but being around so many people just made me tense by the time I got home. And then I fell into The Trap.
The Trap which says if we’re home, we should be doing other things to be productive. I planned to bake, sew, clean ... do anything other than laundry. But I couldn’t bring myself to do any of it – and then I started beating myself up for it. It took all weekend for me to stop.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Clearly I needed a break, some sleep, some time just to do nothing. If my friend was telling me the same thing, I’d immediately tell them the obvious – give yourself a break!
So in the spirit of doing nothing – I will be doing nothing after work all week. Some of my favourite things to do to relax are tiny little self care things, a shower before bed to feel snugly and warm, a hot chocolate with marshmallows. A foot rub when my feet ache from work. Eat my favourite dinner, or listen to my favourite music.
The thing is, we all have to remember to give ourselves a break. The pandemic situation can be completely overwhelming, and here we all are trying to coast through as though it’s not an anxiety inducing event. Chin up, keep calm and carry on – doesn’t always work!
Anxiety is a very physical thing, too. My symptoms include headaches/migraines, a tight throat, feeling like I can’t breathe, fumbling and dropping things. Anything that you can do to relieve physical symptoms is a plus – sometimes it’s as simple as focusing on your breathing, releasing your jaw and any tension from your shoulders. Sometimes it’s much harder, but don’t forget that there will always be something that can help if you catch yourself.
For now, just remember to give yourself the break. Be kind to yourself. We’re all getting through this the best we can, and it’s hard. Give yourself and your body what it needs, we don’t have to come out of the other side of this three dress sizes smaller, being a professional baker. ;)