Even during the rosiest of times, most of us are nervous at times. People suffering from bipolar disorder and anxiety could suffer the most when it comes to the COVID-19 epidemic. In the present anxiety is a common situation as we all are worried about our future as well as our health and the wellbeing of our loved ones. Although anxiety can range in a range of feeling anxious to a diagnosable disorder or disorder, both could trigger mood-related episodes like mania or depression, for those suffering from bipolar disorder, as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) clarifies.
“For those suffering from bipolar disorder, at times excessive anxiety and stress can make it more difficult to maintain stability and positive mood.” Trisha Chakrabarty, M.D., assistant professor in the department of psychotherapy at the University of British Columbia, says to SELF.
Certain days are more difficult than others However, it is possible to control your anxiety so that your feelings don’t overwhelm you as explained by Mona Potter, M.D. Medical director of the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program. The following methods won’t eliminate anxiety, but they could aid in managing anxiety in the case of bipolar disorder.
1. Find a mental distraction.
Stress can lead you to leap from point A to Z quickly as per Rachel Guerrero, Ph.D. Clinical psychotherapist at NYU Langone Health. Let’s say that you saw a report concerning a large amount of COVID-19 patients in your state. You begin thinking about getting sick. You may begin to believe that everyone in your family is likely to be sick. In the meantime, you may be wondering if your friends and family members will be severely sick. Thinking about the most likely outcome will only create new stress-inducing scenarios. “It puts the risk of having an anxiety event,” Dr. Guerrero says to SELF.
If you are experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts in your mind and you are feeling anxious, you should consult Dr. Guerrero recommends distracting yourself with an activity that requires a bit of concentration. If you can do it, this could be considered mindfulness. “People frequently believe that if I’m practicing mindfulness that I’m calming down. This is not the case,” she explains. You can practice mindfulness while cycling or taking a shower, nail art, or doing any other activities you love according to her. If you are taking a shower, for example, consider how the water and soap affect your skin. Note whether you prefer the feeling of cold or warm facial water.
2. Make sure you follow an established routine.
“For those with anxiety, you should minimize the number of decision factors in a day by creating a structure,” Dr. Guerrero suggests. She recommends that as best you can to your abilities it is important to set time slots for things such as eating and sleeping, working out, and also enjoying yourself.
The process of hammering it out will allow you to feel more at ease in times where control is often lacking, a typical anxiety coping strategy. However, this type of self-care routine also makes it easier to stick to routines that will aid in avoiding mood swings. For instance, poor sleep can lead to more risky mood disorders, particularly mania which is why doctors typically recommend people with bipolar disorder to get to bed and rise at the same time every day, advises the doctor, Dr. Guerrero. “For those suffering from bipolar disorder this is the best treatment option,” she says.
3. Set aside 15 minutes each day to record your concerns.
When it comes to regimens and routines. the doctor. Guerrero recommends giving yourself 15 minutes each day to write down your stressors. To prevent spiraling when you journal You can concentrate on writing down worry statements, not ruminations. as SELF previously published. A worrying statement has the beginning and end and rumination is conducted in a circular. For instance, a worrying statement could be like”I’m worried that I might lose my job as a result of the pandemic. Should I be fired I’ll not be able to rent. If I’m not able to pay rent, I’ll need to live with my family. It’s more like I’m concerned that I’ll lose my job. If you lose your job I’ll be unable to pay rent. If I’m not able to pay rent I’m not sure what to do. I can’t be fired from my job. What do I do to pay the rent?
Some people find it beneficial to sketch out potential solutions to their concerns also Doctor. Guerrero says. Whatever the case, defining this anxiety time can be a sign that when you feel anxiety forming in your mind it is easier to be able to stop yourself and say “Nope there’s no time to think about it now. I’ll think about it later,” Dr. Guerrero states. “The more often you do this the more successful you will be at removing your mind from that tangled thought,” she says. You can also set a timer to ensure that you are on the right course.
4. Relax your muscles.
There are times when people feel that their necks and shoulders become tighter when they are stressed. This is one of the ways that your body reacts to stress as per researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School. If you are experiencing this sensation, then try the progressive muscle relaxation technique that can assist in relieving body tension. The method involves tensing the muscular or group of muscles while focussing on your breathing. Some prefer to squeeze one muscle at a moment, while others prefer to concentrate on multiple muscles simultaneously or start with their feet and work their way up according to Doctor. Potter. The most important thing is that you need to breathe deeply and contract your muscles simultaneously. Do this gradually so that the whole procedure takes between 5 and 10 minutes according to what Dr. Potter explains. Take a deep breath and let your muscles relax while breathing. It may seem odd to cause you to feel tense to ease tension, but it helps you become more aware of the physical sensations that you experience as you let go of tension and observe the difference between feeling relaxed and tension, according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. Check out five things you could observe.
Concentrate on your surroundings and write down five things that you will be able to see next time you’re overwhelmed Dr. Chakrabarty suggests. Consider four things that you can touch, three items that you be able to hear, and two items that you could smell as well as one that you can taste. The 5-4-3-2-1 method will help you stay focused on the present moment instead of worrying thoughts as per The University of Rochester Medical Center. You can practice this in the most normal of places like the bathroom. You could, for instance, be thinking, “I feel the cool tiles beneath my feet, but if I move to the left, I feel the bathroom mat. Wow, I didn’t realize how soft the rug feels beneath my foot.”
6. Design a self-soothe kit to help you relax for a calmer moment.
Doctor. Potter likes for her patients to build self-soothe kits that include methods to relax. She refers to this as”cope ahead” or the “cope before” method, as you’re contemplating how you can handle your emotional state before the moment anxiety begins to set in. It could be beneficial to consider strategies that draw attention to every one of your senses, she adds. When the music of Destiny’s Child triggers happy memories You can make playlists with the songs of the group, as well as other songs that will lift your mood on your smartphone. Perhaps you think that you could bake cookies together with loved ones every time you feel the scent of vanilla. You can carry around a bottle of essential oil or perfume to remind you of the sweet scent. It’s best to have as many options as you can. “If you attempt something, but it doesn’t work, there are alternatives,” Dr. Potter says to the SELF.
7. Try to counter your thoughts with facts.
Thoughts that cause anxiety can be challenging, but ultimately they are very helpful at times. Perhaps you’re concerned that the fog of your brain hurts the performance of your work and you’re not able to discover a way to escape this type of thinking. “Sometimes regardless of how much you attempt to question an idea, you’ll still discover a way to counter it,” Dr. Potter states.
If this happens, look for evidence that the result you’re anxious about could happen. If you’re thinking, I’m not doing well at work and could get fired. I’ll never get another job because I’m not employed, then you’re just being catastrophizing. Be aware and consider what evidence you can provide to back the notion. Perhaps it’s asking yourself a few questions, such as, “Has my boss said that I’m not doing a good job? What evidence do I have that I’ll never get an employment opportunity?” You can also think about whether these thoughts of anxiety are beneficial. Recalling the work scenario Stressing overdoing something wrong is likely to cause anxiety and could lead to making more mistakes. Instead of Doctor. Potter suggests thinking about what you can influence in a particular circumstance. For example, you could speak to your boss about your feelings, if you’re comfortable with it. You could also ask for advice and guidance regarding a particular project or try different types of to-do lists to make sure you don’t get distracted by important things.
8. Discuss your plan for the future with someone within your circle.
After several months of physical separation, you might be suffering from the aches of Zoom, but it does not mean that you have to quit interacting with people completely. Doctor. Guerrero says consistent social interactions are crucial for people suffering from bipolar disorder, who are susceptible to depression. “You must be deliberate about it since it’s simple to avoid the right thing,” she says. It doesn’t need to become a live video conversation if you’re not over them. It’s more about the consistency of the connection rather than the format that the connection can take.
Doctor. Potter says it’s even more beneficial to talk to a trusted person regarding how you feel about your mental wellbeing. It is ideal to communicate your strategy for dealing with stress with them to keep you in mind of your strategies in times when you need their help. It is best to be specific about the things you’d like them to perform when you request assistance. “Oftentimes we remain somewhat fuzzy,” Dr. Potter states. If you’re aware that you’re having a harder time sleeping and ruminating can trigger your depression episodes, you can ask someone to help you reach out to your therapist in the event of this happening.
9. Limit your alcohol consumption.
It may be an effective way to reduce your anxieties, but alcohol can trigger bipolar-related episodes, as per experts at the Mayo Clinic. If you’re worried about getting a strong urge for a drink, then you might prefer not to keep alcohol in your home. If this doesn’t work for you due to any reason–perhaps you’re sure you’ll continue to shop for alcohol, or perhaps you are living with someone who is a frequent drinker, it might be beneficial to seek out specific support through talking with your therapist if you have one, or by looking into support groups such as Tempest which is a sobriety program that allows you with other people who be experiencing similar issues with alcohol.
10. Know when to request assistance.
You may need to employ several different techniques from your self-soothe kit to calm yourself. “Sometimes the anxiety is massive, and therefore it’s likely to require a variety of methods to help you calm down,” Dr. Potter suggests. She suggests trying three different techniques to help manage anxiety. If you are still feeling anxious and you are concerned about the possibility of triggering a mood attack it is advisable to contact your psychiatrist or psychologist, if you are suffering from one. They may recommend altering your medication, trying an alternative medication, or adding more therapy sessions, based on the circumstances.
We must acknowledge that finding help isn’t an easy task in the present. Many people are in financial trouble however many better options are more easily accessible such as reduced-cost therapy sessions. Alternatively, the Health Resources & Services Administration database provides a list of health centers funded by the federal government which offers sliding scale or free treatment. Joining an online community of support that connects you to others who can relate to your issues, can aid you in this challenging moment. You can go to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance for an extensive list of groups throughout the U.S. They’re not a substitute for medical assistance however they can make to feel less isolated. “We’re all going through sadness and loss at some level, as well as anxiety and fear,” Dr. Guerrero states. “There is plenty of emotional turmoil.” You may find it easier to cope with these emotions with a little help.
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