You don’t have to suffer from anxiety, take a breath and read on:
After such a difficult year, we are finally beginning to re-emerge and dive into activities we used to enjoy. Some people are gathering in larger groups and celebrating events in person. Whether you are ready to get into public again or not, you may be feeling anxiety. So where is all of this anxiety coming from? Isn’t this the moment we have been dreaming about for over a year?
If it doesn’t make sense to you, you aren’t alone. Every change comes with a bit of resistance, our nervous systems are wired to go to what we know, to stay calm and balanced through routine. When the pandemic struck, our routines were disrupted, and we created new ways of living and coping and those became our new routines. Now, even though the transition we are going through is a happy one, for the most part, some of us are feeling hesitancy and anxiety. These feelings are natural for a transition.
To get in touch with how you are feeling, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you feeling resistant to creating a “new normal”?
- Are you not quite ready to let go of the safety you may have felt from the new routines you created during the pandemic?
- Have you started adding activities that you enjoyed before the pandemic but still feel uneasy when you are engaged in them?
Whatever you answer, don’t be hard on yourself, this is absolutely normal and many people are experiencing the same thing. We have all been through a very challenging time, and with so much uncertainty still surrounding us, new questions emerge every day. For example, is it safe for my kids to go to school, why is everyone driving like a zombie, should I get the vaccine and if so where and when, and when will my favorite restaurant return to its pre-pandemic menu?
To find ease, even in this tumultuous time, my recommendation is that you allow yourself to feel these uncomfortable feelings, recognize them and remember to breathe. Take breaks when you are overwhelmed and stay in touch with your breath.
Connecting with your breath is the most effective way to bring ease back into your body and mind.
Here’s a simple breathing practice you can use whenever you notice you are feeling anxious:
If possible retreat to a quiet place and sit comfortably with eyes closed (obviously only if it is safe to do so, not while driving, etc.). Bring your breath deep into your belly, so your lower abdomen expands outward with each inhale and hugs back towards your spine with each exhale. If it feels good to you, bring your right hand to your chest and your left hand to your belly.
Begin counting your inhale, count to four. Hold your breath in for the count of two (unless it’s uncomfortable, then let it go sooner), and then slow your exhale down to the count of six or even eight if you can. Remember any breath control technique needs to be worked with softly, don’t force yourself to hold your breath if it makes you uncomfortable, you will lose the benefit of the technique!
After about three rounds you will start to feel more relaxed, your mind will be more clear and you will start to breathe easier. Continue the practice for up to five or even ten minutes. When you return to your activities you will have a greater feeling of inner peace, a supported nervous system, and an uplifted mood.
If you want more information about how to cope with anxiety during transitions, go to my website and download the Transition Anxiety First Aid Kit.
You’ve got this!