Let me tell you, living with anxiety is beyond difficult. So, you can imagine how it feels being anxious during a crisis.

I’ve lived with anxiety as long as I can remember, even dealing with panic attacks during grade school. This illness didn’t just make me a little nervous – it was much worse than that. It was so bad that I spent many days of my childhood with a child psychologist trying to stay in touch with reality.

The struggles of living with anxiety

It was a daily struggle. It was one that a little girl couldn’t comprehend. Living with anxiety made it hard to function without help. As a small child, I didn’t understand what was happening to me, and so I needed someone to listen. These were during times that I was secretly being abused by a relative. But the good news is, I did survive those times.

Yes, my anxiety came as a result of childhood trauma, and now I live with it during semi-normal times as well. When everything in the world is just peachy, I still have panic attacks and unbearable thoughts. The panic attacks, they come as either trigger or just sneak up on me for no apparent reason.

So, when another crisis arises, anxiety can only get worse. However, there are ways to stay sane when things go south.

How to ward off insanity during a crisis?

1. Step away from media

When reports of deaths or sicknesses clog the media, it’s easy for anxiety to rear its ugly head. You start thinking about how to stay safe during the sickness, and whether or not you will survive if you contract the contagion. The media reports daily the number of deaths and infected, and so your anxiety levels have a greater risk of skyrocketing.

Here’s what you do. You turn off the television, get off the computer, and put down your phone. Take a break from the media, at least for several hours and do something else.

Even though the crisis may be very real, you can take your mind away from it just for a little while. You can even pretend it’s not there, but just also remember to come back to reality and stick with precautions because it does exist. I think you get my idea.

2. Focus on your health

Taking your mind away from the crisis by focusing on your physical health will help with anxiety. For instance, ingesting plenty of vitamin C and eating healthy meals will help you to stay on top of proper nutrition.

Also, plenty of exercises, even if you feel you should stay inside, will help lower anxiety levels. Yoga is a good example of physical and mental exercise in one. So instead of letting anxiety take over your life, allow your health and wellbeing to take over your anxiety. This will take some practice but will help you keep your head above water.

3. Take it easy

While many people will argue with you about sleeping too much or laying around, this option might actually work for you when it comes to anxiety. Yes, you do need to stay healthy with exercise and mindfulness techniques, but you also need downtime. If this downtime includes sleeping off and on for a couple of days to recuperate, then that’s what you should do.

Anxiety has a way of completely robbing you of sanity while you try to stay fit and healthy, and if you need to check out for a while, it’s okay. Yes, napping is sometimes all you can do to stay sane.

4. Become consistent with your care

During some traumatic times, like during disease outbreaks, you will be instructed to use safety precautions and hygienic practices. While you should always wash your hands and stay clean, when a crisis hits, the act of cleanliness will be crucial to your survival. So, instead of panicking, try staying consistent with hand washing, sterilization, and cleaning.

When you take appropriate action in your life, it decreases anxiety. You feel like you have a great purpose to protect yourself and your family. Each day, try harder to be a bit more consistent until you’ve created a full day of precautions and protection. After a while, these measures will become fun and even a part of your normal routine. Things won’t feel so chaotic anymore.

5. Help others

If you happen to be someone who cannot self-quarantine during a crisis, and your services are needed, then, by all means, help anyone you can. Work hard during these days to keep your mind off the chance of negative things happening.

Yes, stay positive, restock, serve free meals, provide transportation, and if you can, help some people financially. When you’re busy focusing on the needs of others, your anxiety will see these moves as routine. As stated above, anxiety is bound by routine actions.

6. Don’t completely isolate

Yes, it’s important to stay away from the infected if you are going through a health crisis. However, you can keep in contact with friends via social media or by phone. This doesn’t mean that you should wander off and drown yourself in the negativity of the media again.

When you can, call your extended family and friends to make sure they are doing well too. Not only do they appreciate your thoughts, but it breaks up the monotony of being alone living with anxiety during times of mandatory isolation.

7. Educate others

If you have important information to share about a crisis, it’s your responsibility to share these instructions. For instance, when there’s an epidemic or outbreak of some kind, it’s imperative that you share what you know about how to stay safe and clean.

Teach your children what they need to know during this time as well. This has a double impact on your life: you will help educate and you will take your mind off your own fears for a moment.

All things pass in time

Both good and bad times change. There are pros and cons to this truth. If you’re living with the insanity of anxiety, then it’s important to find ways to feel sane again. It might not be easy to keep calm during things like pandemics, but it’s still important to do so.

I encourage you to offer even more insight into this, and I hope you share more ideas for retaining your sanity during a crisis. You may have anxiety, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose control.

Let’s hear about how you keep it together during the chaos.

Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

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the power of misfits

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    brian

    I have had anxiety most of my life there coping mechanisms you employ but what i found helped me most was meditation and my own mantra to beleave in my self nots to say it can crop up now and then but when it does i halt and say to my self why am i having this episode and ask my self is there anything bothering and causing me to be like this when ive gone through this process nine time times out of ten my anxiety go away. Meditation is a powerful tool can expel any negative and refocus and train it does not cure everything but its a marvolous tool for the mind and is especially good for depression when learning meditation one has to be patient as it may appear nothing is happening esp if your trying to empty the mind and just focus on nothing but the peace of your true self

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Yes, initially, meditation is difficult. But after practice, it can become like second nature. Allowing yourself to sit and do nothing will help you learn to quiet your thoughts. Anxiety reacts best to meditation too! I remember one episode of anxiety that was calmed only by meditation, and so I really believe in its benefits.

      Thank you for reading.

      1. Avatar
        Brian

        Yes I have learned from the best it took many years and can affect people on different my teachers are of a Buddhist tradition it is some what more modern these day’s you do not have to sit on a zafu cushion but I got used to sitting you can start of with a ten minute and build up to as long as you want but it’s not about the length of time bit the quality as I stated previously is good for combating anxiety and depression

  2. Avatar
    Shea

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am working on managing triggers and panic attacks, getting down to the bottom of it all. It’s a lot of work! But the best thing I have ever done for myself. Every time I read about anxiety it helps with another finer point. Be well.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Thank you for reading, Shea.

      Dealing with anxiety is more of a process than a rush for a cure. Anxiety usually comes from a really deep place inside, and those triggers can come from some of the most unexpected places. Keep working on locating the origin of your issues, and then healing from each one. Take as much time as you need to find these and understand them.

      I wish you well too.

  3. Avatar
    Linda

    Your article is excellent. You hit all the key spots, self care both physical and mental. Proper hygiene and sanitation practices, avoid going out unnecessarily for the moment. Also spiritual is most important i.e., meditation, etc. The media is trying to scare us to death and this causes wide spread panic and fear, way out of proportion to what it is. Also fear suppresses the immune system as well. The virus will affect the same group it always has….immune compromised, already sickly folks and the elderly. With good sanitary practices and keeping your immune system strong, most folks will swat this away with either no symptoms or mild to moderate. In mid-February, I came down with a FLU and had a cough, fever and body aches, stayed in bed for 3 days. I hadn’t been sick for 20 years. Within 5 days I was feeling better and that was a month and I’ve been going strong ever since. I have no doubt I probably had Corona, but I kept myself isolated in my room and not 1 other person in my family even got sick. Now I have an immunity to it. The reason everyone is getting a little sicker than usual is because it’s a new strain of Corona virus and we haven’t built up immunities to it yet. But still it’s not really hitting any harder statistic wide than an average bad year of flu. The media hypes it up with death counts everyday. I feel like I’m watching Hunger Games and they’re putting the death toll on the screen nightly. All a big media play. Don’t fall prey to the fear as this is exactly what the plan is. I just read an article today where a bunch of journalists went around the country to various hospitals to check out how full they were. They were NOT. Just the average amount of people, not swamped with ill folks like the plague. I also just watched live feeds of police between states stopped cars passing state lines. NONE of the police folks had on any face masks and they were all interacting with each other and the stopped cars just like any ordinary day. If this was a dangerous and deadly as they have made it out to be, they would ALL be wearing face masks at the very least.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      I do think we should take this seriously, and unfortunately, many people are not acting in their best interests by wearing these masks and staying away from each other. NO, we should not panic, that does indeed make our immune system more vulnerable. What we need to do is be careful and consistent. Inconsistency in our protective measures can let one little germ slide through and infect someone who is afraid or compromised, which can mean critical illness or death. So, it matters how we see this. We can see it as a conspiracy, a reality, or something in between. What we need to do is be careful and be intelligent. If we over-react, keep this in mind, we are better off than acting as if this is not real. Please take care of yourself, and thank you for reading.

  4. Avatar
    Linda

    Yes I agree. My family is following all the protocols, staying home etc. We hope that when the warm weather comes this will fade out as typical flu does, and things can finally get back to normal. It will now become a part of the viral infections in the yearly flu cycle, but as more and more people are exposed, our immunological systems will start to function with this more effectively. Thanks for all your good articles.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      I hope you are right, Linda. I don’t mind staying in at all, I don’t mind being diligent. I do get kind of anxious when people brush up against me at the stores. So, I generally only go out about once or twice every two weeks. I just cannot handle the crowds. Sometimes, it seems more crowded now than before the illness, but probably just my imagination. I wish you well, stay safe.

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