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Working together during a crisis

How are you and your family coping during this current crisis? It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. The time together could help strengthen family bonds, as you find new ways to work together. This issue we bring you informative content to uplift, challenge and readjust your thinking.

Photographs: iStock

Text: Lyndsay Jensen

The world has changed since my last ed's notes. Today as we head into April, another 13 days of lockdown in Denmark, I grieve with the rest of the world during these scary times. I've heard the word anxiety thrown around a lot, and it's something not to be taken lightly, as I experienced for myself in a supermarket this evening. Gone are the days of casually wandering the aisles, chatting with neighbours you haven't seen in a while, and friendly cashiers. Instead, it's replaced with hand sanitizer, a mad dash for groceries so you can get out quickly to avoid infection, and some sort of weird wide berth game you play with other customers for fear of being contaminated with this new dreaded threat.

So, how does life go on as usual? How do you cope if you already suffer from anxiety, or are currently battling during this new world situation? Here are a few tips to help you and your family cope:

#1 You don't need to be in control all the time

You regularly check the weather before a big outdoor event. You replay a clumsy comment you made, or get enraged when you're stuck in a traffic jam. When you try to take command of things that can't be controlled, it can send you into a panic situation. Try to stay calm and instead, imagine that you're floating in water with your arms spread out, looking up at the sky. When you surrender to the moment, you feel far more in control.

#2 Breathing techniques

Seems an obvious tip, but simple breathing exercises twice a day can alleviate feelings of panic associated with anxiety. You may notice that when your body is tense, you hold your breath. Concentrate on bringing breath and mind together, breathing in and out. Contrary to popular belief, deep breathing can sometimes worsen hyperventilation. Instead, try breathing slower and more shallow.

#3 Avoid large amounts of caffeine

Highly caffeinated drinks, like coffee, can brew panic in people who are predisposed to anxiety. Instead, opt for soothing herbal teas.

#4 Meditate

Set aside time, even 5-10 minutes every day, mindful meditation has positive effects on your psyche. Studies suggest that meditation and prayer help to manage stress. Regular meditation can both help you cope with anxiety at the moment, and also give you the mental focus to manage worrying thoughts more quickly in the future. There are useful apps on your mobile, to help you with meditation if you're not familiar with it.

#5 Become disciplined about sleep

The average person should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every single night. If you already suffer from anxiety, some of the above coping techniques, such as avoiding caffeine, meditation, and other tips, are also effective ways to improve sleep, as lack of sleep, and anxiety often goes hand in hand.

Try to enjoy your Easter staycation as much as possible, and remember - this too will pass, and take the opportunity to enjoy the small things with your immediate family. Please take care of yourself and one another.

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