8 Ideas to help Reduce Anxiety & Depression
This COVID-19 virus seems to be creating lots of uncertainty and is all around us, in the news, at the school gate, and in the counselling sessions. It can be a particularly difficult time for those with pre-existing health conditions, those who are vulnerable and also for those already dealing with anxiety and depression.
Feeling fearful, confused and afraid can create extra stress for those Dealing with anxiety and depression and so whilst you are putting your own contingency plans into place, I thought that I would give you some ideas on how to escape some of those anxious thoughts.
Being able to put strategies in place can help to alleviate anxiety and depression and also give you some routine. So here are a few, which I think are useful, tips/ideas on how to escape some of your anxious thoughts.
1. Practising Gratitude and being Thankful
When you wake up in the morning you can spend a few moments thinking about what you are grateful and thankful for. It may be for something as simple as having the opportunity to experience a new day or maybe it is being thankful for those around you or perhaps you are grateful for the experience of air touching your cheek or the sounds which you are able to hear around you.
Exercise doesn’t have to stop because you can’t get to a yoga class or you are not able to walk outside.
Perhaps before breakfast, mid-morning or whenever takes your fancy create an indoor exercise routine.
Now is your opportunity to spend some time researching for your favourite online yoga class or maybe even subscribing to a walking channel on YouTube such as that of Leslie Sansone.
3. Pens, pencils and crayons
How about taking up some colouring. I remember that when I was a child, colouring in the edge of Maps such as the blue sea line was really calming. I’d like to say therapeutic but I wouldn’t have even have heard of that word at that age!
You might research colouring books for grown-ups or download some blank mandalas and colour those in.
you can try some sketching. All you need for this is some blank paper and a pencil. Of course you can get more elaborate with this in the future if you want to.
4. Use mindful grounding techniques such as...
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
This technique is one where you explore with curiosity and description
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Choose a colour and look around the room to find things/objects in that colour i.e. if you choose blue you might see a blue sofa and described it’s Shade of blue, its shape, the amount of room it takes up in relation to other objects. Be curious and explore.
5. The breath
Of course we cannot leave out the breath because that is with us where ever we go and can be used as such a useful tool.
As you breathe in you can say the words “breathing in calm“
As you breathe out you can say the words “releasing all tension“
You can also use the breath to help you feel relaxed by breathing in to the count of 7 and then breathing out to the count of 11. If you find this count too difficult you can adjust it to suit yourself i.e. breathing to the count of 5 and releasing the breath to the count of 9. This breathing exercise stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite to your fight, flight or freeze system. It is the act of breathing out for longer which stimulates the response. Doing this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
6. Do something that you enjoy
Which might be...
listening to your favourite music
watching your favourite film
playing a board or card game
Rekindling an old hobby
spending some time doing what you enjoy can be beneficial in reducing your anxiety and depression.
7. Challenge those anxious thoughts
When thoughts become stuck in a loop it can be totally draining and exhausting. You might try bringing your attention to the present and observing your worries, accepting them and then letting them go. Doing this can help you to identify where your thinking is causing problems.
Create some “Worry time”. You can do this by scheduling in some time each day for you to be able to worry about whatever is on your mind. Try to keep the rest of the day free of worry by reminding yourself that you have allocated time for this.
During your worry time ask yourself questions such as… Are my thoughts based on truth? Is there any evidence to support my thoughts? Is there a more realistic or positive way of looking at this situation?
8. Reduce your Isolation
You can do this by checking out Facebook for groups which interest you.
Think about your likes and dislikes and look around for Internet forums with people who have similar interests to yourself.
Create your own group.
Catch up with others via telephone, face time, messenger, WhatsApp, zoom or other platform of your choice.
Create cards or write letters to family and friends?
I hope that some of these tips can give you some ideas on how you can distract your anxiety and depression.
One further thought is that you can choose to reduce your news consumption. Rather than having the news or a covid19 virus program on in the background try turning it off and instead you can just check in at specific times throughout the day. This can take both your mind and body off of high alert and can give it the opportunity to take a break.
If you feel the need for counselling and do not want to come to the counselling room right now then I also offer online counselling as well as telephone sessions and you can contact me by calling me on (07478) 754839 or you can send And email to firstname.lastname@example.org
DON’T STRUGGLE ALONE!