Anxiety in a Time of Coronavirus

For those struggling with anxiety, the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be a particularly challenging time.  Here, we wanted to share some thoughts and advice that we hope you will find helpful.

First of all, just as if you were suffering from physical symptoms of illness, we would encourage you to seek appropriate medical treatment, this is important for emotional health too. If you are suffering from a health problem such as Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder, continue to take medication such as Sertraline (or as prescribed). It may be that you have not been previously diagnosed. Do get in touch with your doctor, even for  phone based consultation. We can feel as though we are low down the priority list but emotional well-being matters just as much as physical well-being.

If you begin to feel suicidal thoughts then reach out to someone quickly. If you are part of Bearwood Chapel or live within the community here, you can get in touch with one of the elders, Hannah  (our Communities and Families worker) or me by phone. You can also send a message to our Facebook page and one of us will call you back quickly.  There is also the Samaritans number 116 123 as well as the usual emergency NHS numbers. 

As believers in Christ, we know that he is our rock and firm foundation.  Find hope and assurance in Scripture. I find that Psalms particularly can be helpful in calming anxiety.  Perhaps choose 2 or 3 comforting Scriptures to listen to via audio book or read in your Bible.  Meditation on those verses may help. For Christians, meditation is not about emptying your mind but about focusing on and reflecting on Scripture. Take time to read and re-read the words, use different translations, try paraphrasing using your own words. Read a few lines and then stop and pray. Either hearing a recorded version or reading the words out loud can be particularly helpful.

Be aware that social media can be both a help and a hindrance. It can help connect us to others and it can also be a further source of anxiety.  You may find it helpful to switch off all internet based technology for specific times of the day and especially before bed time.  It is also possible to snooze and mute some conversations and you can even mute trigger words and phrases on twitter. Go to reputable news sources for latest information to avoid speculation such as the BBC. Remember that most people writing comments on Facebook are no more in the know than you and I!

Recognising that social media can be a help to staying in touch, why not set up a Whatsapp group with 2 or 3 friends you know can be trusted to have normal conversations, to encourage you and not to raise your anxiety levels.

Get fresh air and exercise as much as possible. Make use of the permitted exercise time.  If you have a garden or balcony go out and just relax in the fresh air. If you are stuck in doors open curtains and windows to allow light and air in.

Set up a play list of worship songs to listen to. Joining in with praise and music can be very helpful.

Pick a good, light hearted sit-com to watch!

A particular message for you were about to take A-Levels or GSCEs and are anxious about the situation (or you are anxious for your children). It is true that exams are important but sometimes the pressure is over heavy.  People can give you the impression that this is all or nothing, a once in a life time opportunity that will define your future. Remember that God is the one who is ultimately sovereign over your life. The reality is that even if things do not go to plan now that this is not the end. It is possible to change plans and direction. As one set of doors close, others open.

You are also welcome to join us on Facebook for Morning and Evening prayer to start and end the day together with believers and God’s Word. During the day, you can check in with us for Elevenses and Afternoon Tea (3pm) each day. 

You may also find some of our video recordings on YouTube helpful (see especially the first talk “Don’t Worry).

We pray that you will know God’s care, love and protection during these days.

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

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