COVID-19 has undoubtedly proved stressful for a large number of people. Fear and anxiety over an illness is often debilitating enough, let alone when that illness has put the world into lockdown and dominated every news cycle across the globe.
Even before coronavirus, anxiety disorders proved to be the most common mental illness in America, affecting 40 million adults – 18.1% of the population. In circumstances that are considered stable and familiar, those affected can typically control their symptoms using a healthy balance of lifestyle changes and medication.
Now, with some of those lifestyle changes restricted and medication potentially being harder to access, anxiety levels are rising. In order to provide comfort to those looking to improve their mental health and wellbeing, we have compiled our strategies for coping with anxiety under lockdown.
Be open about your worries
When dealing with anxiety, one of the best strategies is to break down your comprehensible concerns into smaller, more digestible chunks and discuss them with friends, family or wellbeing professionals.
By comprehensible, we mean those concerns that you can currently describe. It is sometimes hard to identify exactly what is causing your body to react so extremely. Existential fear can trigger panic or anxiety attacks, leading to shortness of breath, trembling and the feeling that you are losing control.
While being open will not always prevent you from being vulnerable to anxiety attacks, it can help reduce the likelihood of your fear gradually overcoming or surprising you. Additionally, by monitoring your concerns through communication, you may be less likely to confuse symptoms of a panic attack with symptoms of COVID-19.
If you are new to anxiety attacks, the sudden shortness of breath can be frightening. By having a firm grasp on what you are experiencing, you are generally safer from increasing your level of panic and becoming more distressed.
If you feel that there is someone in your network who may not directly seek support but would benefit from it, now is the time to get in touch. There may even be a community group that would welcome you joining and contributing. As an added benefit to keeping you occupied, this change in your routine can bring enormous psychological benefits.
Look after your body
It can be more difficult to stick to an exercise routine during lockdown. However, it is not impossible. Physical health has a big impact on how we feel. Going for a walk, run or bike ride is proven to not only improve your self-esteem but to release chemicals known as endorphins.
These endorphins interact with receptors in the brain that reduce your perception of pain. As they diminish this perception of pain, they produce a positive feeling in the body. It may sound like pseudo-science, but the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the very same ones that bind certain pain medication, such as morphine. This creates a small sense of euphoria often referred to as ‘runner’s high’.
Of course, you can access these benefits while staying within your home. The internet is host to millions of free workout resources on video platforms such as YouTube. Carrying out these exercises now can allow you to set up the foundation of a routine, helping you get better sleep and plan your meals more effectively.
Eating is certainly harder to keep track of when you no longer have your everyday habits in place. As a result, individuals who eat in excess or begin to eat at times not conducive to a healthy diet may begin to notice changes to their moods and can potentially increase their chances of suffering from anxiety.
A poor diet can lead to issues with your digestion (and, subsequently, sleep pattern) that then leads to lack of activity and energy and general discomfort. Instead, try to curb any new bad eating habits by practicing meditation or breathwork. Regular exercises of control will help by limiting the amount of time you spend trying to occupy your mind with food products.
Continue to take necessary medication
Lastly, now is not the time to risk gaps in your medication cycle. While the above suggestions to your lifestyle address how to keep up with behavioral routines, you need to still take the anxiety medication you were taking prior to the lockdown (or have been advised by a doctor to take since) until advised otherwise.
Drugs such as mirtazapine (Remeron), for example, are used to treat severe depression and prevent insomnia. However, it can take up to two weeks for them to have an effect. In other words, by delaying your next prescription or taking a significant break, you could risk the effects wearing off and leave yourself more vulnerable to anxiety attacks.
Similarly, antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil) and desipramine (Norpramin) take time to improve positive thought patterns. Long pauses between medication consumption could potentially not only cause distress but also take a substantial amount of time before you regain the positive benefits.
These drugs work by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result, the levels of both in the brain increase, helping alleviate symptoms of depression. While none of them will cure your anxiety, they may work together with a healthy routine to control your more severe anxiety symptoms and support you throughout the duration of the lockdown.
If you have questions about the medicines we offer at Medix Pharmacy, speak to one of our sales team today. We appreciate how scary coronavirus can be, and our experts are on hand to explain how our licensed international pharmacies can offer some peace of mind.
If your inquiry is urgent, please remember that our customer service line is open 24 hours a day all week. You can contact us on 1-866-500-6633 (toll-free phone number) or +44 1438 500111 (international phone number).