Today, I want to talk about how to handle anxiety when things feel out of control.
If you'd rather watch my video on this topic, click here.
So many of you have been talking to me about how much worry and anxiety you have about what’s going to happen in the future. -
-When you will be able to see your loved ones again who are in a care facility
-When community centers will open back up so you can get some breaks from caregiving.
There is no shortage of things that can lead to anxiety and it seems like with the current events of the world, anxiety is at an all-time high. So today, I want to talk about what you can do to start to lower your anxiety regardless of what’s happening in the world.
There’s also an amazing workbook you can download from the Wellness society called the coronavirus anxiety workbook that can help you even further. It’s totally free and you can download it here.
What is stress?
Stress usually shows itself physically in our body through heart racing, difficulty breathing, difficulty sleeping, chest tightness, and so on. It happens when we feel there is a threat to our environment. It leads to the fight, flight, or freeze response. One expert refers to stress as “What arises when something we care about is at stake.”
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is both mental and physical. Anxiety is the unhelpful way we think in our minds when we focus on the threat, uncertainty, and negativity.
So, before we go into how to better manage stress and anxiety, it’s important to know that both of these things are completely normal and we can’t stop them entirely from happening. In fact, these mechanisms have helped us survive and have protected us in the past. The problem is when stress and anxiety are ongoing. When you stay this way for long periods of time because it leads to many negative health effects.
Since anxiety is going to happen to every human being, it’s important to know how to respond.
The first thing I want you to practice is to catch your “what if's”.
-What if I catch the virus and die?
-What if I’ll never be able to see my loved one again while he’s in the nursing home?
-What if my loved one doesn’t recognize me after not seeing me for a while.
And the list goes on.
You can use this technique with any type of “what if's” you may do.
Once you notice the worries, you want to ask yourself what is in my control and what is not in my control. So much anxiety and worry come from focusing on things outside of our control, which as much as we wish it wasn’t the case, is a complete waste of time. There is no amount of your worry that will change anything outside of your control. Once you accept this, you can shift your attention to areas where you can make a difference...and that’s one where you have control. Focus there. Do you have control over how often you call your loved one? On what you eat? On your self-care routine? The things you have control over, put your attention there.
If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety and worry about current events, put yourself on what the wellness society calls an information diet. Basically, check in with the news once a day. The news is created to capture our attention, highlight our anxiety and uncertainties. A constant feed of all the negative information and scary stories will impact you in a negative way.
So, minimize your time to the news AND Make the input you receive from news sources balanced. Meaning, give at least the same amount of time to uplifting news stories. There are plenty of news sources that specialize in just this type of thing and in the free workbook mentioned above, there are links to many of them. These news sources aren’t the ones typically on mainstream media on TV, but they are available and out there, and to have a balanced view of what’s happening is important.
Don’t believe everything you think. Our mind is hardwired to think of the negative. But our brains aren’t always right. You can try something called the "ABCDE technique" to help calm you and help your thoughts.
Attention: When you feel nervous, worried, or stressed - stop and pay attention to your thinking. What’s going through your mind?
Believe: Do NOT automatically believe what your mind is telling you. Often times, it’s not correct, it’s fear taking over.
Challenge your thought: What are the facts? Would every person on earth believe 100% that thought, if not, then perhaps it’s not actually a fact? What other things might you think if you were calmer?
Discount: Acknowledge that the thoughts causing your anxiety may not be helpful. True or untrue, is it helpful for you to focus on them? Does focusing on them change anything? Acknowledge that it’s okay to let those thoughts go.
Then EXPLORE: What other believable, more helpful thoughts can I think? What else might be a better use of my time right now? There are so many possible activities and resources you can explore in the free workbook below.
Careblazer, I know this is not easy. But continuing to live in a state of anxiety and worry isn’t easy either. Be open to giving these 3 approaches a try. You might just notice your anxiety starting to lower. Also, if you feel that your dementia caregiver stress has been an issue for a while, there is a waitlist where you can enter your name and email and you will be the first to know when my private program is open and accepting new members. I’d love to have you join me inside of the Care Course so you can get the tools you need to start feeling in control and start prioritizing your own care needs.
The link to sign up for my Care Course waitlist is here.
I’ll be back next week, Careblazer. Hang in there.
#careblazer #dementia #dementiacaregiver #dementiacareblazers #nataliedmonds #careblazerdementia #dementiaandmentalhealth #dementiacaregiversupport #alzheimersandmentalhealth #howtocareforsomeonewithdementia #careblazersdementia #careblazersdementiaheroes