Understandably, many of us are feeling anxious about coronavirus.
The constant flow of information about the outbreak, and it’s financial implications, are enough to trigger worry and fear. These anxious feelings can affect your daily life, work, study and relationships.
So we’ve put a list together of ways to help prioritise your mental and physical health during this difficult time.
Symptoms of anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety in their own way, but here are a few common symptoms:
- A constant sense of dread
- Feeling on edge or irritable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle aches and tension
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach ache
The following habits have been shown to help people deal with anxiety:
Practicing mindfulness will
help you notice when you're relying on unhelpful habits to cope with anxiety, and make it easier to change them into helpful habits. There are many useful meditation apps out there such as Headspace or Calm.
Change your thinking habits
If you know that you tend to dwell on negative or upsetting things, try starting a ‘gratitude journal’. Every night, before bed, write down 3 things that you're grateful for that day – no matter how small they might be.
Research shows that this simple exercise helps 'rewire' your brain to notice more positive things and reduces stressful thinking.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing
Breathing using your diaphragm helps you relax. Lie on your back with your hands on your tummy. Breathe through your nose and let your breath deepen in its own time.
Talk it out
You don't need to do everything on your own. Try talking things through with a supportive friend or loved one, even on a Zoom call.
An independent view can offer you a fresh perspective.
The act of humming stimulates your vagus nerve which regulates your relaxation response and extends your exhale. When your exhale is longer than your inhale, your body naturally produces relaxing hormones.
Physical activity causes a chemical change in your brain that positively alters your mood.
So, where possible, make the most of your daily exercise! Just nipping out for a walk every day can improve your health and fitness.
Stay hydrated and eat well
While sweet treats might give short-term comfort, they lead to a blood sugar rollercoaster. Low or crashing blood sugar and dehydration can make anxiety feel worse. Stay warm and hydrated with plenty of hot soups and herbal tea.
Keep track of your finances
With furloughing, redundancies, and reduced hours many of us are feeling a financial strain at present, which can cause stress.
To manage this, it’s useful to have an accurate picture of your financial situation.
Knowing your income, expenditure and disposable income once your day-to-day expenses are covered, will give you confidence in your decisions and help you to create a budget.
This blog is a joint collaboration between Kaplan and CABA. CABA is the charity that supports the wellbeing of the chartered accountant community. They provide lifelong support to ACA students, past and present ICAEW members, and their close families across the globe.
For more information on how CABA can support you at this time visit caba.org.uk/coronavirus.