Thinker Belle

As thoughts grow in time

How To Handle Anxiety During The Pandemic?

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Dear friends,
Since my last sharing on How To Feel Better About Yourself? last year seems to be quite popular, I've been trying to find another relatable topic that I can talk about with everyone. While I am not a professional, I am quite glad that some of you find a little solace while reading what I wrote last time. I guess we aren't very different after all. Almost everyone is experiencing the same feeling of uncertainties during the pandemic, and if we don't try to find a healthy outlet and a good way to manage it, the anxiety could actually be too overwhelming to overcome. 

While the source of our worries might not be the same, the looming darkness over our head, the never-ending 'What Ifs' that keeps on popping inside our mind and the terrifying feeling of losing control of our life can really make someone feel helpless and lost. And honestly, I feel it often throughout the time we stay cooped up at home. 

I've always been the type of person who isn't very good at making quick decisions. I always need to be sure of things before I can fully commit to something new. And this way of thinking for me is less of 'I am scared' and more of an 'I can't afford to make any harsh decision'. I don't really have the luxury of making the wrong choice. For example, being the eldest child in the family, I really hate the thought of needing my parent to clean up my mess especially at this age. And because of this, I tend to go out of my way (sometimes, in an unhealthy sense) just to handle things on my own and work really hard to avoid any possible issue from arising.

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And you see, if you are a worrier like me, you get anxious often. That's why the unpredictability of the world during the pandemic really hit me hard. If pre-pandemic time allows me to at least be 60%-70% sure of any decision I make, these days, I would be happy enough if I can at least make up my mind without having a second thought about it a minute later.

Am I weird or am I weird? ๐Ÿ˜‚

While being careful about something is not necessarily bad, obsessively pursuing a single worry can be poisonous to our minds. Yes, my overthinking is often more harmful than helpful. Yes, I realised this years ago, but what my mind knows, might not be what my mind does. Turns out, I am way more of a perfectionist than I'd like to be. I rarely let myself let loose. If I make a mistake, I'll replay it over and over again in my mind, as if I'm trying to drill the uncomfortable memory deep into the brain to make sure I won't repeat it again. Sometimes, I still even think about all of the embarrassing things I've done back when I was younger -- like 'elementary school young' and shudder in shame.

What an exhausting way to live, right?

So, to stop me from spiralling further down the rabbit hole, I made a lot of research on my own. I did a lot of readings, joined a bunch of Facebook support groups and even online forums to try to come up with different and better ways to handle my anxiety/overthinking habit. I have to say, sometimes, they work. Sometimes, they don't. And sometimes, I just turn to my unhealthy coping mechanism; which means shutting the problem out and just sleeping the problem. But hey, I'm a human and I am allowed to have good and bad days too. If you fail, try again, right?

Anyway, some of the positive coping mechanisms that I've tried and seems to be working for me include:

1. Giving Myself A Break ๐Ÿต
I try to take my mind off things and start focusing on things that I love; like watching movies or reading a book. I will usually try to avoid sad or heavy topics because they tend to make me feel worse. Instead, I like to choose light, funny or inspiring stories to remind myself that there is always a way out.


2. Talk To Someone ๐Ÿ’ฌ
Whenever I feel trapped in my own mind, I try to talk to someone else. Strike up a conversation, discuss topics that you are passionate about, or if you prefer it to be light and easy, just go with the usual 'nice weather' route (although the latter is not really for me). To be honest, I am a pretty private person, so the things that I usually disclose to people around me probably will only cover 20% of the whole story. But still, saying some things out loud really helps.  If you are stuck at home due to the pandemic, don't make excuses. There are plenty of online conferencing and video calls tools that you can use to reconnect with others. Believe me, there is always someone out there who is willing to listen. And if you don't feel comfortable sharing about the problem, just find another topic instead!

3. Break The Routine ๐Ÿ“š
Doing the same thing over and over again can be exhausting and sometimes, depressing. Whenever I feel like I am stuck in the same place, pace or pattern, I will try to break my usual routine and try to find something else to do. Somehow after giving myself a mental break like this, thankfully, I'm always able to regain my composure at the end. It might take some time or maybe a number of different attempts to totally get rid of the anxious feeling in my chest, but changing my normal pace or routine really does help. 

4. Get Off Social Media ๐Ÿ“ฑ
Such a cliche thing to say but this is actually true. While my day job involves working on social media most of the time and I admit that they do have their perks especially in helping creating awareness and connecting people, there were also instances where the platform got unwaveringly negative and pressuring to me. And whenever I feel like I'm getting sucked into the negativity, I'll just turn them off and go about my day without signing into any of it. This is especially true when it comes to weekends. I prefer to do things offline (or online but incognito) to give my self a break when it's my day off. Reading, listening to music or watching new movies or dramas are some of the options (refer point 1). These days, I'm even getting into watercolour painting, which surprisingly turned out to be really therapeutic for me. Just a two days weekend detox off social media, and I'll usually feel better when Monday comes, and all ready to work.


5. One Thing At A Time ✅
Sometimes that anxiety-ridden, suffocating feeling kicks in when your thoughts are overloaded with too many goals, objectives, and expectations all at the same. They're basically trying to compete for your attention, hoping to get prioritised first in terms of importance. Of course, it will be really nice if we can accomplish so many things at the same time but we need to understand that it is physically and mentally draining to continuously act like we can do it all. Putting too many in your mental checklist can be counter-productive and make you lose focus on truly important things so try to do one thing at a time. It's okay to do that. You don't have to be an over-achiever all the time. 


6. You Are Not Alone ๐Ÿ‘ฏ
And lastly, if you still feel uncomfortable talking about your issues with other people, just remember that the thing you are feeling at the moment, you don't feel it all by yourself. There are a lot of people who are suffering from it and would be able to sympathise if not understand it. And if you take a step back, turn around, and try to focus on the people who love you, there should at least be one person who would be more than happy to share your burden.

With this, I hope I will be able to at least help some of you out there coping with whatever burden that's been bothering you on your mind. And if this doesn't hurt, it's always okay to turn to the professionals. Let's get rid of that stigma about getting psychological help equals being a failure. We go to the doctors when our physical body gets sick, why not doing the same for the sake of our mental health?

Till next post, toodles~! ♥ใƒŸ

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