Technology certainly has its shortcomings, but in these tough days of isolation, it is a total godsend. It is helping us all to stay connected, to see each other and to chat in those times when we may need it the most. Not least, it is allowing many anxiety sufferers to continue to get the vital therapy and support they need through online therapy sessions. The majority among us may be all in physical isolation, but we don’t have to ‘feel’ isolated as a result.
Keeping in Touch Online
Alongside in-person consulting, my online practice has developed strongly in the last five years, working nationally and internationally with my clients. The current crisis is encouraging the majority of my clients who prefer to see me in person, to jump on and try out video calls online too. With a ‘needs-must’ mentality, it is helping those who might otherwise be camera shy to embrace online video technology to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as with me.
Here’s what some of my clients have said to me about their online sessions last week:
“Lisa’s online sessions have given me the time to switch off from stress and organise my thoughts from the comfort of my sofa.”
“I’ve loved my video calls with Lisa. It’s as good as being with her. The quality is brilliant and very accessible.”
“Switching to online sessions for the time-being has kept me on track, and kept my mind on positive thoughts, rather than negative.”
“I felt daunted at first because I hadn’t used it before. I thought it wouldn’t be as effective but to my surprise, five minutes in, I forgot I was on camera and the session flowed and was as helpful as usual.”
“In the current climate, it’s great that Lisa can offer sessions online. My video calls are my safe haven… and each one makes me feel better and better.”
“After feeling so isolated, it was comforting and so easy to talk to Lisa from my sofa.”
Anxiety and COVID-19
For some of my clients, the current COVID-19 situation is helping to bring a sense of perspective to their troubles; it has helped them to reframe what they thought was insurmountable. For those clients, generalised anxiety is calming down and they are able to be more rational in their thoughts. For other clients however, these challenging times are exacerbating anxieties because their everyday problems and fears are still very much there, and these are being affected by the circumstances which are beyond their control.
My 3 Top Tips To Calm Anxiety With COVID-19 Isolation
So how am I best advising my clients to calm anxiety in these worrying times? I’d like to share with you an overview of my three best snips of advice in case you need to hear this today.
Stop trying to control what you can’t. Make peace with the frustrations and accept that your life is being restricted and that it is for the common good. Resistance creates friction. This creates tension and this, in turn, fires up your nervous system. You get edgy and more uptight about things in general. It is true that you may be powerless to change the situation, but the medics and researchers are working hard to do what they can to bring this situation under control.
Ask yourself – if I can’t change that (whatever you are frustrated about) what can I change? How might you better react and respond? How might you be pragmatic with what you want to achieve? This can at least grant you a semblance of control and power in a different way.
In my book for teens and young women ‘@anxiety – we need to break up’ I share the Serenity Prayer. It says,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Don’t waste your energy on things you cannot do anything about. Instead, be more mindful of how you can react to events and circumstances. You can only do what you can do, so be kind to yourself. Remember what talents, skills and resources you have. Use them to help you to take action in a way that you can in order to find a way through.
It is a natural and normal response to fear what we don’t yet know. Of course, we feel most comfortable inside our safe ‘comfort zone’ of the familiar. These testing times are forcing us to live day to day in uncharted waters. These times are unprecedented. Uncertainty sends a primal message to within our subconscious functioning that we are not safe. Our bodies respond with an increase in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This kicks in an automatic fight-flight response – creating a fear that danger is imminent.
To counter-balance this unpredictability, we must focus on what we can predict. We must create certainty for ourselves. What can you influence in your life to become more constant?
I’d urge you to consider creating a framework for your days. Your routine has been thrown, and it is vital that you create a new one. A time to get up and a time to go to bed, a time for meals, and a time to exercise.
If you are working from home, plan windows of activity. If you have free time off work, what jobs around the home could you set yourself to get done? Make a daily planner and tick off your day’s activities as you do them. In this way, you will be focusing away considerably from the wobbles of uncertainty, and instead, creating stability by what you can influence.
Did you know that science tells us that the mind actually can only think about one single thing at a time?
You cannot be feeling anxious and feeling grateful at the same time.
It’s impossible. They are opposing emotions.
To help yourself to start your day feeling loved and appreciative of the simple pleasures, ask yourself what am I grateful for in my life right now? Ask yourself what do you anticipate being grateful for in the day ahead? Make a list. Take a moment with each item on the list, to breathe into the joy.
Allow yourself the opportunity to appreciate even the simplest of pleasures… a hot shower, a cup of tea, good food, stimulating or easy conversation, family fun, a good book, or the sun shining… the list really is endless, isn’t it?
Similarly, when you are ready for bed, take a few minutes and run through a daily review of all the good things in the day, of the good things in your life that you can be grateful for. You will go off to sleep with better thoughts than what is happening in the news.
A calmer mind and body will help you to get the rest you need.
I hope this helps you today.
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
Support Nationally and Internationally In-Person and Online