I think it’s safe to say that the world currently feels like it’s on fire, right? I mean, I’d been feeling like that months before this whole pandemic, so you can only imagine how I ACTUALLY feel now.
I am however grateful that I started therapy late last year because I don’t think I’d even be able to open my eyes if I hadn’t already started dealing with my anxiety. There’s too much going on. If you’re on optimist, you can say, “We have life so we should be grateful”. If you’re a pessimist you can ask “What’s the point, really?” If you’re a realist like me you can say, “Grateful I’m alive, but what’s going to happen after all this doom and gloom eventually passes?”
I am by no means qualified to even give anyone advice on how to deal with the things that freak them out. I’m told that my voice helps calm people, but since you guys can’t actually hear me, I’ll give you a few tips on what I’ve been doing to deal with my anxiety in general, and the modifications I’ve made to deal with the ‘Rona.
Tip One : Panic
It’s ok to panic. I panic all the time. It’s natural, all things being considered. Global warming, natural disasters, trotro drivers in Accra…. the world is like one giant booby-trap. Not to be morbid but, we’re on some “Here today, gone in 3 minutes” type of vibe right now. It’s scary. You wake up one morning and your throat feels funny and all of a sudden, you’re wondering if the lady who smiled at you at the supermarket might’ve given you the ‘Rona.
Tip Two : Centralise
This is the part of the process that is most essential to me. I call it ‘centralising the panic’ and all that really is, is just me figuring out the source of my panic by actually asking myself what is going on, and if I can control it. In most cases, I can. Even with the Rona where the answer is social distancing, that’s all that is required of me. You hit yourself with the “Well, she just smiled at me and I was six feet away, so truly? It’s nothing.”
And now that we’re on lockdown, it just means staying at home which I can definitely do.
Tip Three : Breathe
This is the one thing we take for granted the most. The one thing that I kind of side-eyed my therapist when she said, but it has honestly been my saving grace these past few months. We breathe. That’s how we stay alive. But breathing exercises, when you’re actually paying attention to the pattern of your breathing and listening to what your body is saying, does a world of good. Without fail, deep breathing takes my anxiety from 10 to 2 in a few minutes. Now, it’s not easy, and it might feel silly, but it helps. Always remember to take a minute to breathe. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out.
It’s totally natural to feel anxious throughout the day, especially with what’s going on around us now, but try. Make a conscious decision to not have a continuous stream of anxiety, but rather moments scattered through the day. It’s not easy. You’ll never stop making that conscious effort, but the serenity it brings you in the midst of the storm is always worth it. You owe yourself that.