Are you having trouble sleeping?
Are you having trouble sleeping?
I hear from many that they’re struggling with falling asleep or staying asleep. Others say their sleep is not restful and they feel tired all the time. Is this you? Well, sleep disturbance can be a symptom of anxiety, which may have developed or increased during this time of COVID-19 and social distancing. So what can you do? You may have had an irregular sleep schedule doing this time and your brain might be confused as to when it is supposed to sleep. When a person has a regular sleep schedule, they tend to fall asleep easier and have better quality sleep overall. So you could try to retrain your brain 🧠 back to a regular sleep schedule.
But how do I know if my sleep disturbance is connected to anxiety you ask? Anxiety has many symptoms. It can look different for different people. See if the following symptoms might fit you. Are you also experiencing Restlessness, Feeling keyed up or on edge, Being easily fatigued, Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, Irritability, or Muscle tension? Maybe you are constantly worrying about yourself or a loved one getting the coronavirus, or about whether or not you have been cleaning enough or about the whole social distancing thing. Are you finding it difficult to control your worry? Also, are you noticing the anxiety spilling over into your relationships with your loved ones at home? (By the way this is not uncommon, with everyone being cramped into small quarters during the social isolation.) Or are you noticing the anxiety hindering you from being productive at work or notice it affect any other area in your life? If you answered yes to a couple of these it might be a good idea for you to get some counseling.
We are all experiencing some degree of difficult emotions during this time of Covid 19 and social isolation. But leaving anxiety unchecked, it can get worse and even become depression. Also, if you are feeling alone during this time of social isolation it could help to connect and talk to a counselor. You can book your appointment on my website by clicking the book now button below. Not sure if counseling is right for you? I also offer a free phone consultation. You’re not alone. Let’s Talk!
No insurance? No problem. If you are struggling financially, I can offer lower fee rates through a program called Open Path Collective. Or, if there’s anyone in your household who qualifies for an employee assistance program (EAP), you might be able to get some counseling sessions through that. The employee connected to the EAP has to contact the EAP and request sessions for you. If you want to see me for counseling and I happen to not be on that particular EAP, let me know and I can contact the EAP to see if a one time contract is available.
Keeping Anxiety in Check During Social Distancing
Many of us feel anxious during this time of social distancing and COVID 19. You're not alone. Here are some tips on how to keep that anxiety in check.
Having a daily routine can provide a sense of control over the situation and therefore help you to stay calmer. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day. If you are working from home, schedule yourself regular work-hours. Not working right now? Schedule project-time, like for home improvements or in things that interest you.
Keep up Your Workouts
Regular exercise has been shown to be effective in lowering anxiety and depression. Continue your exercise routine, as much as possible. Don't have an exercise routine? Now might be a great time to start one. Do check in with your doc first, especially if you are worried and need some advice on what kind of exercises might be ok for you. If you can't go to the gym for your favorite yoga class, there are many online offerings for exercise-type classes right now. Got kids? Find a way to get them involved. It will do them good, as well.
Think Healthy Eating Habits
Balanced and healthy food choices will provide your body with the nutrients it needs. This will help to keep your mood more even overall. Be aware of those extra trips to the refrigerator. Routine comes into play here, as well. Have regularly scheduled meals. Feeling like snacking too much? Ask yourself if you are eating out of boredom, anxiety or if you are really hungry. Paying attention to your bodily needs, moods and thoughts, you can figure out what is going on for you and give your body what it really needs. If you are living with family or friends, try to have at least one meal a day together. This can lessen the feeling of loneliness during social isolation.
Do Spend Time Outside
Gardening, going for walks or runs and other outside activities are also great ways to reduce the anxiety of being cubed up. Getting some outside time daily will help you to de-stress and provide you with fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun. Many people have low Vitamin D levels and don't know it. A low Vitamin D level can be connected to anxiety and depression symptoms. Be sure to keep up to date on information and follow the current social distancing recommendations. Lastly, if you are spending longer periods of time on the outs, don't forget the sunscreen!
You're Not Alone
Connect with family or friends over the phone or over a video chat. It might even be helpful to schedule these times to add to your routine. There are even support groups, such as peer groups for people dealing with mental illness, through the National Alliance on Mental Illness, that are held online. For additional help with anxiety and depression during this difficult time, you can connect with me via Telehealth sessions. Just click and book your appointment.
~Let's Talk! ~Petra
Where is Your Focus of Control?
I pose this question twisting the term “locus of control” developed by Julian B. Rotter, an American psychologist, in 1954. Locus of control is a concept looking at the degree to which a person thinks they have control over dealing with things happening in their lives versus outside influences dictating the outcome.
People who focus too much on outside influences, may blame others, fate or bad luck for their situation. They tend to say things like "I have no choice" or "They make me feel guilty if I don't do this." Such thoughts have likely developed over long periods of time and tend to be great contributors to feelings of anxiety and depression.
I am not saying one should totally focus on the self, in all situations. Certainly, there are events and circumstances brought on from the environment, that can throw us a wrench sort-to-speak; and some are bigger wrenches than others. Many people even have to deal with a whole toolbox full of wrenches that have been thrown into their lives. Some are traumatic, some are painful, some are horrific, or all of the above. And sometimes it really sucks, is not fair, etc. etc. etc. Yes, absolutely do we need to pay attention to these outside circumstances, events or influences and deal with them appropriately.
And that’s the key right there. We Choose how to react; how to deal with what has been given to us. Maybe we are not able to choose all of the outcome, in things that are beyond our control. But we can focus on the things we can control. This can help us feel better; less anxious or depressed.
Sometimes it’s hard to look at our own ways in which we can keep ourselves stuck and sometimes we don’t see choices. It can help to talk things through with a counselor.
Need help? ~ Let’s Talk!
I am a Nationally Certified- and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the State of Idaho. With over eight years of experience, I specialize in counseling and consulting with adults of all ages, facing anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, grief & loss, life stage issues, stress and more.