Sunday 22 March 2020

Nerd Church - The Anxious Girl's Guide To Pandem-onium

(Warning: this post discusses Coronavirus/Covid-19 (but hopefully in a non-stressy way!) and Anxiety/mental health problems)

Wherever you are in the world, your life is probably being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic right now - if you're in Europe, then it definitely is.

I'm Anxious af right now - and I know other people are too.

'The Anxious Girl's Guide To Pandem-onium' written in graffiti-style against a striped grey-and-blue background

So, I think we could all do with some practical self-care advice.

(Even if you don't have mental health problems, you still need to take care of your mental health!)

I shouldn't have to say this, but, y'know, internet:

This is just my advice. Everyone's different and will need different things and benefit from different advice. These tips might work for some people, but won't work for others.

Do what's right for you.

I'm also not a mental health professional. I'm just some Welsh chick who has personal experience of Depression and Anxiety, and who (imho) has a bit of common sense.

Also, I know I've titled this post 'The Anxious Girl's Guide To Pandem-onium' but, obviously, I'm referring to myself here - you can benefit (or not, whatever,) from this post regardless of gender.

1. Limit the news and socials

I've been avoiding the news, and spending limited time on socials. I still have gotten more than enough info on the official announcements.

I've told my parents to tell me if they think I've missed anything important. And other than that, I'm creating a bubble of silence around myself.

Don't be afraid to do the same - you need to do what you need to do, and the constant stream of negativity is enough to trouble anyone.

1. Limit the news and socials; 2. Headphones; in the corner is 'The Anxious Girl's Guide To Pandem-onium'

2. Headphones

Turn your music up, stream a video, whatever. You gotta shield yourself sometimes.

3. Tell people what you need

I've had to stop my family from talking things into the ground - cos it gets in my head sometimes, and they don't know that unless I tell them.

Sometimes, when things get really bad, when I'm shaking and everything is just... bad... I ask to hold my dad's hand.

And yes, it makes me feel a bit like I'm 5 years old; but it's nothing to be ashamed of. Don't let society tell you otherwise.

Asking for help - asking for what you need - is not weakness, it's strength. And you can do it.

3. Tell people what you need; 4. Double-down on self-care - 'The Anxious Girl's Guide To Pandem-onium' is in the corner

4. Double-down on the self-care

All the tips and tricks you build up to take care of yourself? Some of them may need some adapting, but most of them will still be applicable.

Use them.

Use them if you feel bad, and use them if you feel good so that you don't end up feeling bad.

Self-care comes first.

5. Distract and divert

Jigsaw puzzles, books, fanfiction, TV shows, music, work, blogging... sometimes you need to give your brain something to focus on which isn't the current Anxiety-inducing circumstances.

You need to give it something to occupy the brain-power your brain would otherwise be using on Anxiety and thought-spirals.

5. Distract and Divert; 6. ...but don't over-work - 'The Anxious Girl's Guide to Panada-monium' is written in the corner

6. ...but don't over-work

Diverting your Anxious energy into work can be productive and healthy. It can also be easily over-done, and become very unhealthy.

Just be aware of when too much is too much, especially if, like me, you have a tendency to throw yourself into work as if it will somehow solve the world's problems.

It's easy to exhaust yourself, and/or stress yourself out about that instead of about Coronavirus.

7. Breathe

Remember to breathe. V. important.

For some people, breathing exercises work. But they freak me the hell out and make things worse.

So do whatever works for you - there's no one-size-fits-all with these things.

But remember to breathe.

7. Breathe; 8. Express yourself - 'The Anxious Girl's Guide to Pandem-onium' is written in the top corner

8. Express yourself

Sometimes you need to let your feelings out, ok? So do something artsy like painting or drawing or writing or colouring.

I sing at a volume that the neighbours probably disapprove of (but so do they, and I literally thought it was a cat fight one day,) because I'm actually a Welsh stereotype and burst into song at random intervals. 😅

9. Limit caffeine (if it helps)

I'm not giving up my coffee. It ain't gonna happen!

But I don't drink any coffee after about six o'clock in the evening, and I don't drink any caffeinated soft drinks after about 9pm.

I find it helps me sleep better, which helps me break that cycle of no-sleep and Anxiety that I can sometimes slip into.

It ain't gonna work for everyone. But at the same time, if you down 10 cups of coffee before noon, it's gonna damage your chill!

9. Limit caffeine (if it helps); 10. Be kind to yourself - 'The Anxious Girl's Guide to Pandem-onium' is written in the corner

10. Be kind to yourself

You deserve to give yourself some slack - whether you feel like it or not.

This is hard. And I'm so proud of you - all of you - for holding on, no matter how shaky that holding on was.

You're strong - even when you don't feel like you are.

To end, something randomly amusing: the Welsh for virus is 'feirws' 😅

Any tips and tricks for Anxiety or other mental health problems at the moment?
Talk to me! 😊💬

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  1. I love the “tell people what you need” section. Whenever I am having a panic attack my mom always asks me what she can do, and it really makes me feel better. And, it mostly involves her hugging me, which makes me feel like a child too, but you know what, it works, so it doesn’t matter!

    1. Thanks Em - and you're totally right!

      I have to remind myself that if it helps, it doesn't matter. It might make me feel like I'm five years old, but sometimes you need to hold your dad's hand!

  2. These are probably all very good tips and I've been horrible about doing any of them. I've been following ALL the news very closely---might be overkill, honestly.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I can't. I just can't. All I saw yesterday was the announcement of lockdown and I ended up shaking and crying with my heart trying to break out of my chest.

      It's not even the actual thing - I'm OK with being locked-down, if it's gotta be done, then it's gotta be done - but it's all the body language and tones of voice and constant repetition that sends my brain into fight-or-flight mode, and I hate it. *sighs*

      Hope you're holding up ok. Try not to get sucked into the news cycle too much!


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