Have you noticed a heightening in your anxiety levels lately? In this blog post, hear a registered social worker share her simple and yet effective tools for coping with anxiety.
Check-in with yourself
It has been a year since the COVID 19 virus was declared a pandemic. It has been a year full of uncertainties as we navigate and adjust to an ever changing day-to-day life. Each of us have had to cope with unique challenges alongside shared experiences of navigating the challenges of isolation from our relationships and our communities. Though it has been a year, it is important to recognize that this experience does not get easier with time and acknowledging this can be profoundly important. As human beings, we are wired for connection.
Notice your inner dialogue
How we talk to ourselves on a day-to-day basis can have a significant impact on our sense of well-being and sense of self. For some of us, having spent a prolonged period cut off from our usual social interactions and relationships can mean that we may feel flooded by thoughts and feelings that may be difficult or painful to think/feel. Without our usual tools for coping, such as spending quality time with others, exploring our communities, or engaging in group activities, we can feel especially vulnerable to self-critical thoughts. Take moments to notice your self-talk with specific attention paid to how you regard yourself, beliefs about others, and about the future.
Reflect on your strength and resilience
Each of us are experiencing the pandemic in unique ways. The common shared experience of this pandemic can both unite us as well as leave us vulnerable to self-criticisms. Some of us may feel that the challenges we are grappling with may pale in comparison to those of others, and that can lead us to say such things as “I should be able to cope with this” and “I shouldn’t be feeling the way that I do when others have it so much worse”. Being able to acknowledge the suffering of others is a beautiful quality, and we can also view our own suffering as valid and difficult for us personally. If you were to imagine yourself one year ago, how would you have thought about your capacity to live through lockdowns, social isolation, and adjusting to the uncertainty that has been inherent in the pandemic? And yet here you are, having coped with it one year later. Taking moments to appreciate our resilience and strength alongside those of others is so very important.
Self-compassion is not reserved for those of us who are “perfect”; we are all deserving of it. It is not about “letting yourself off the hook” nor is it about “self-indulgence”. Being self-compassionate is about transforming our relationship with ourselves and our beliefs about what motivates us. It can allow us to move from using shame and self-criticisms as a source of motivation to using acceptance of our imperfections and desire to grow and evolve as a source of motivation. Self-compassion can involve acknowledging our own suffering as valid, and to not shy away from acknowledging our own strength.