Is the sun shining on you today? I hope so! Are the birds singing? Are you feeling relieved that the world is opening up again, and optimistic about the future? Or are you perhaps also feeling a little anxious?
I have noticed as we begin the journey out of lockdown, that people are worried about returning to their ‘normal’ activities of before. ‘Will I have forgotten how to do my work?’ ‘Can I cope with that number of people again?’ ‘What if I have to take the bus or use a public toilet – will it be safe?’ What was once everyday has become a matter for stress, and all our anxiety levels have risen. Plus we are all weary or stressed or both after the length of this pandemic, and some scientists have even described this new condition as ‘pandemic burnout’ (see this Guardian article). Because we all have a higher base level of stress after this prolonged period, any anxieties on top of this are felt more keenly and can become larger issues in our minds.
Self-Care for Anxiety
BREATHE Any time you feel anxiety levels rising or stress overwhelming you, take some deep breaths. It slows your heart-rate and your mind and enables you to return to a calmer place. Many guided meditations focus on the breath – I am a particular fan of Smiling Mind, the Australian meditation website and app.
SLEEP Prioritise your sleep as it makes you feel calmer and reduces stress. It can be difficult to wind down enough for good sleep if you are feeling anxious and your adrenaline levels are high. Try to have a calming evening ritual before bed, turning off screens at least an hour before sleep, and stopping working, organising and eating in the last couple of hours before bed. See my Sleep blog for more tips.
REDUCE STIMULANTS Cut down (or cut out) caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as they can all make you more jittery.
FOCUS ON PHYSICAL HEALTH Exercise is a great stress reliever. According to Harvard Health Publishing “Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.” Choose a form of exercise that makes you happy and that you can fit into your timetable.
TAKE TIME FOR YOU This is really important and doesn’t need to take a whole lot of time. Find the things you love and do them regularly. It might be reading a book in the sun, going for a walk, meeting a friend, drawing, painting or gardening – whatever lifts your spirits and brings you a sense of calm.
TALK Find someone you can talk to about your anxieties – a friend, family member or health professional – it doesn’t matter as long as it’s someone supportive that you feel comfortable with.
Homeopathy for Anxiety
Homeopathy is a holistic therapy and focuses on you as a whole person. There are remedies for the acute or immediate signs of stress, such as panic attacks, as well as those that address the underlying causes, tendencies and inherited traits. Here are a few remedies that might be useful for different anxiety related disorders:
ACONITE This is a wonderful remedy for panic attacks, that feeling of fear, not being able to breathe and a racing heart.
ARSENICUM ALBUM I have been reading recently about the increase of Health Anxiety in which people become very worried about their health and catching illnesses or diseases. Arsenicum could be a great help with these fears, which may include fear of death and fear that medicines won’t be able to help. People who might benefit tend to become very fastidious and obsessed with order and tidiness, which gives them some sense of security.
PHOSPHORIC ACID This remedy could be ideal for the pandemic burnout we have been hearing about. It is for a state of nervous exhaustion, particularly after grief. People are easily overwhelmed and may become withdrawn and indifferent to life.
LYCOPODIUM This is useful for anticipatory anxiety, which I have also written about in Homeopathy in Anticipation. It is for the state many of us are in as we come out of lockdown: a loss of self-confidence, feeling self-protective, and apprehensive about undertaking new things.
“Anxiety is a natural human response when we feel that we are under threat.”Mind
It is not surprising that many of us are suffering from higher levels of stress and anxiety after this prolonged period of pandemic. Do consider gentle self-care and homeopathy to help you find your way through.