Tips to reduce anxiety

Last updated: 09/04/2020

Tips for reducing anxiety

We can get anxious if we keep going over what’s already happened or what might or might not happen in the future.

When we have feelings of general anxiety and our minds are working overtime, if we can stay in the moment, it helps us feel less overwhelmed.

Remember this will pass

Think of all the difficult things you have managed to overcome in life and how well you have done. Focus on the here and now. Name the room you are in and what you can see. Bring yourself into the room. Name the smells, sounds and what you see, feel and taste in this moment.

Infographic from @BlessingManifesting

Here are a few tips for reducing anxiety:

  • Breathing: a simple but powerful way to feel better. Take a deep breath in for the count of five and out for the count of five. Repeat this, calmly, twice and you will feel more grounded. Even better, tuck your hand under your armpit or hold yourself while you do this. It’s science and it works.
  • Communicate: name what you are feeling inside, as this helps. Tell someone if you’re feeling sad, anxious or worried. Encourage your children to share how they are feeling too. You don’t need to fix your feelings or theirs. Just listening and hearing the words out loud can stop the feelings from taking over.
  • Connect to people: keep talking to others. Focus on the connections you already have and make more. Wave/smile/talk from your window/door/yard/balcony/garden but remember to maintain social distancing. Join online groups. Focus on positive connections and limit news. During #Clapforourcarers at 8pm on Thursdays, smile or wave at your neighbours. Your children might like to draw rainbows to stick in the windows, and enjoy spotting rainbows in windows if you’re able to go out.
  • Eat well and drink lots of water: food is our fuel and keeps us going. If you are feeling anxious, drink some water, and keep hydrated.
  • Hug yourself: give yourself a soothing hug. If you or your children are feeling anxious you could try the ‘butterfly hug’, a self-soothing technique.
  • Humour: is brilliant for relieving anxiety. Laugh as much as you can. Laugh at yourself. Play silly games with your children. Joke with your friends. Watch funny films.
  • Move: as much as you can. Walk, dance, play games that involve moving around. There are lots of people sharing yoga, dance, exercise and other activities on social media.
  • Music: listen to music. Play all your favourite songs. Sing, dance and make yourself some great playlists. Music helps to soothe our bodies and reduce stress. You’ll need to grin and bear all the different music tastes in the household!
  • Outdoors: despite the restrictions, you can still go outside. Being outside can make you feel calmer. Whether you can go into the garden or out for a walk, take advantage of the sun to soak up some vitamin D. If you have been advised to stay at home, stand at the window. You can also open the windows to get some fresh air. (See government guidelines about going outside and social distancing.)
  • Pets: if you have pets, stroke them, cuddle them (if they allow you to) and play with them. Pets have a wonderful way of soothing you.
  • Routine: try to give the day some sort of structure – like the one your family already has. For some, that will be an hour-by-hour timetable; for others it will be looser – getting up and dressed, and eating at your usual times. There’s no point in giving yourself more stress by trying to do too much.
  • Sleep: we all need enough sleep. Without it we can feel anxious. If you are finding it hard to sleep, try to grab a short nap during the day, or simply rest your eyes while your children are busy doing something they enjoy.
  • Release stress in your body: clench your fists and release them. Do that two or three times, then shake your arms.