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How to cope with anxiety during uncertain times

These are extraordinary times that we are living in. Many of you in our Lighthouse community might be feeling anxious, on edge or overwhelmed by coronavirus.

You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried or be concerned about your health or those close to you.

What’s important is that every single one of these emotions are OK- in fact, they’re completely natural. Coronavirus has changed many of our daily routines and threatened our sense of safety- sadly an all too familiar experience for the kids in our care. However, there are some things that you can do right now to help you take care of your health and well-being.

Our Lighthouse Psychologists and expert Care Team have experienced first-hand how the combination of a supportive community, paired with self-care can shape the trajectory of a person’s life in disrupting times. So, they’re here to help you too- with advice on how to cope with stress and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Stay connected
Throughout this time of physical distancing, it is easy for people to feel socially isolated or alone. Stay connected to all those close to you through this time with technology and social media. If you are feeling anxious, distressed, or overwhelmingly sad, tell someone. It could be a friend, a family member or a professional. They will want to be there for you. They will want to help. If you think you know someone who is prone to these feelings, please check in with them.

If you are a parent/guardian
Children are exquisitely attuned to their caregiver’s emotional state. During this period of heightened emotional vigilance, children are most resilient when in calm surroundings. Remaining calm will sometimes be challenging throughout the pandemic but it may be helpful to think of the parent’s role as the calm eye of the storm. Children rely on their parents to be vigilant and concerned with respect to risk, but also to be protective against unnecessary anxiety and panic.

Recognise the signs of anxiety
Identifying early signs of worry or anxiety is the first step toward reducing symptoms. Early signs may include dwelling on particular negative thoughts or feelings. Anxious thoughts often reside in future orientated stressors combined with an overactive flight-fight-freeze response. For example, “if [perceived danger] happens, I will not be able to get through”, or “the world is not a safe place”. If at any stage, your anxiety becomes so overwhelming that you’re unable to regulate your emotions, then seek help. The following government website provides a list of helplines that can be accessed in times of need- https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines

Reciprocity
Throughout the prolonged period of being at home, it’s important to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling. There will be times where you’re feeling overwhelmed, isolated and/or distressed. You may need a listening ear or a calming voice. There may also be times you’re feeling calm, settled, and able to provide support to others. In these moments, consider your skills and resources and offer support where you can. Research has shown us that we can actually protect our psychological well-being through adopting a role. You could be a listening ear or that calming voice for someone else. You may even have a skill or resource that you can share with others.
At Lighthouse Foundation, we wish you, your family and friends the very best in these unpredictable times. Together we can build our resilience through thoughtful self and community care. We hope this was helpful, even in some small way.