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Feeling the anxiety peak again? We’re not surprised.

Girl, oh girl. 2020 has showed up! It has put on one helluva performance. When kids are doing history in 2055, history class will be interesting! And unbelievable.

Lockdown 2.0 doesn’t feel the same as the first one. Firstly, the weather is a little different this time around, right? Darker mornings and evenings. Colder. We’re talking about Halloween and Christmas instead of Spring/Summer. We’ve headed back into a new school year instead of looking forward to the summer break. And how different is school right now with masks, hardly any movement, no trips planned, and we can’t even see our friends outside of school. I don’t think any of us could have predicted how long this thing would stick around. In April, we thought October was going to be a safe place. And now the 5km limit is back. We get it, it’s pretty bleak.

When we’re in the middle of things, it can be really hard to get perspective. With so much news, so many announcements, and so much content, it can be really hard to see past it. We get so caught up in the details and all the “what if?” worries that we lose sight of stuff. Anxiety peaks. Stress strides in. Worry comes along for the spin, and before we know it, we’re really struggling.

Some anxiety is rational. And some anxiety is irrational. A lot of what everyone is feeling right now is rational and valid. Because hello, we’re in the middle of a pandemic! It’s totally OK if you’re feeling anxious. It’s totally OK if you’re feeling stressed. It’s totally OK if you’re feeling worried. And hey, it’s totally OK if you’re feeling cool and calm too. Everyone responds differently. There’s no right or wrong way and there should be no judgment. We’re all doing our best.

But, at the same time, don’t let any of those negative, worrisome thoughts run away with themselves. Don’t let them run riot in your mind. Catch them. Question them. And remember, all is not lost – everything is temporary.

Some believe that the opposite of anxiety is calm. But the opposite of anxiety can also be connection. When we’re anxious, we’re disconnected from ourselves, others, the present moment, and the world. We’re in our heads, not our bodies. We’re in our negative thoughts, not our positive assumptions.

We’ve been forced to be separated, distanced, and isolated on and off for quite a long time now. And that is making us anxious. Understandably. It goes against our needs. We need connection to others to feel safe. Even those of us who are introverts. However, there are still things that we can do for ourselves. So get yo paipear agus peann and write these down:

  • Find other ways to connect – hello social media!
  • Give yourself permission to feel the feels, but don’t stay in them.
  • Write down your fears, and say hi to them.
  • Structure is our best friend. Set yourself a daily routine.
  • Do anything practical – it literally flicks a switch in the brain.
  • Start where you are, with what you have, and do what you can.
  • Journal. Journal.
  • Find a good fiction book that takes you away.
  • Always look for a positive, even just one.
  • Comfort yourself. Our faves are slippers, cozy jumpers, tea, a candle, a fave song, and 7 deep breaths.
  • And a quick lesson in deep breathing:

Notice your breath.  Is it shallow; high up in your chest/collar bone area?  Or is it deeper; rib-cage area? Or deeper still, in the tummy?  Shallow breathing engages the nervous system.  Deep breathing, disengages the nervous system, and allows us to relax.  That’s why everyone says “take a deep breath”, because it really does work!

Take 2-3 minutes, put both feet on the ground, close down your eyes, and direct your breath, fully in, and fully out, and feel the panic start to melt away.  When we direct our breath, we can direct our minds.

We love you! x

 

Some useful supports if you want to reach out for help

SPUN OUT:  This is a one stop shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter of fact, helpful and all bases are covered.

TACKLE BULLYING: Lots of resources for kids, parents and teachers on dealing with bullying.

SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.

CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.

TURN2ME: Support for anyone feeling anxious, sad or lonely.

YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.

 

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