Coping with Anxiety and Building Resilience
All of us have experienced a seismic change in the way we work and live. Overnight our lives have been completely turned upside down. Human beings are creatures of habit, and disruption to our daily routines can cause anxiety – feelings of unease, worry and fear. These are triggered by our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened. Anxiety incorporates both the emotional and the physical sensations you might experience when you are worried or nervous.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
- Panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Sleep problems
- Not being able to stay calm and still
- Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Dry mouth
- Tense muscles
Whilst it is completely normal to be feeling anxious at this time for some it will be overwhelming. We will all need to learn to cope with the new normal or we may develop unhealthy thinking styles or develop or resort to coping mechanisms such as drinking too much. Learning to cope is also known as resilience. Resilient people are able to use their skill and strengths to help them to face difficulties head-on and weather the storm.
Tips for coping with anxiety
- Focus on the here and now – what is actually happening in this moment. Try not to think of worst case scenarios or wonder too much about the future. Remember that this situation is temporary and constantly changing – and whilst this is a particularly unusual time, you ,and the human race, have survived difficult situations before. This too will pass
- Build a support network. Video call friends, family and colleagues who encourage and strengthen you and talk to them about your feelings.
- Limit your exposure to the news. Don’t be tempted to check news updates every few minutes.
- Distract yourself – read a book, do some exercise, sort out a cupboard, take a walk outside.
- Breathe – if you can feel yourself getting anxious try taking ten deep breaths, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds. It really calms you down.
- Be kind to yourself, talk to yourself as you would a close friend and make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercise and nutritious food.
- Take breaks. Even if you are working at home it’s still important to take time off work, make sure you take breaks during the working day and use your annual leave entitlement.
- Try to focus on the positive, happy things. The weather, more time with your children, a chance to get all those jobs done at home, connecting with people you’ve not had contact with in a while.
- Treat yourself. Whilst you can’t get out and about you can still cook a nice meal at home, have a relaxing bath or rent a movie online.
- Seek help. If you’re finding it hard to cope, just talking to someone, a friend, LawCare, another helpline can make you feel less worried and many GPs are still offering online appointments.
If you are finding things difficult and need to talk, LawCare can help. We provide emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their families. You can call our confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or access webchat and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk