Feeling anxious about Covid-19?
We are living in uncertain and unprecedented times and many of us are worried and concerned for the future. It is natural for us to feel anxious about the Corona virus and what the future hold but is anxiety taking over? Are you finding it difficult to sleep? Perhaps you’re having trouble concentrating or feeling more irritable. It may be affecting your mood and you may feel overwhelmed.
While feeling anxious from time to time can be normal, when it’s impacting us on a daily basis, it’s the time for help, and thankfully, there is much you can do when anxiety strikes.
It’s good to talk
It may sound obvious, but talking your worries over with someone can really help - a friend, neighbour, family member, carer or partner, it doesn’t matter who. WhatsApp, Zoom, Houseparty and Facetime are all great ways of staying in touch too when it’s not possible to see people face-to-face. The old adage is true - a problem shared is a problem halved.
Stick to the facts
It’s easy to get swamped with all the information and misinformation about Corona virus in the news, radio, papers and on social media, which can heighten anxiety. Try and get your facts about Corona virus from trusted sources like the NHS website, or the government website and limit the amount of times you check these sites if you find it’s making you more anxious.
Do something you enjoy
If you’re listening to every news update and finding yourself worrying more and more about things we can’t control, try and break this habit and swap listening to constant updates for something that gives you joy. This might be listening to your favourite music or an audio book, painting or doing a crossword, exercise or cooking.
Dedicate some “worry time”
If you know your worries will wake you up in the middle of the night, dedicate a short time every day to write your worries down, or record them on your phone if you find writing difficult. It can be reassuring knowing you have time to focus on what’s worrying you, then letting it go for the rest of the day.
Take a deep breath or two
Simple breathing exercises can be really helpful when we feel anxiety taking hold. The NHS website suggests this breathing pattern to help:
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Mind the mindfulness
Apps like “Headspace” and “Calm” offer simple guided meditations and a practice called “Mindfulness” which helps the brain focus on the here and now. Some people find daily practice of these meditations helpful when they are feeling overwhelmed
Move your body
Even if you are shielding and can’t leave the house, finding a way to gently move the body can help us release feel-good endorphins and reduce anxiety. This can be gardening, chair based yoga, dancing to some music or even some singing to get your chest wall moving!
Cutting the caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol.
Caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes actually make feelings of anxiety worse. Try swapping for herbal teas, water or decaff tea and coffee. Feed your body with good, healthy food and your mind will reap the benefits too.
Is there anyone I can speak to when I’m feeling anxious?
Speak to others who are feeling the same
‘Big White Wall’ is a great app which is an online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low. The service has an active forum with round-the-clock support from trained professionals. You can talk anonymously to other members and take part in group or one-to-one therapy with therapists.
Talk to the Trust
You can always speak to one of the Health and Wellbeing team if you feeling anxious. We also might suggest our “Talk Together” scheme.
“Talk Together” is a confidential, free contact service for Thalidomide Trust beneficiaries to help combat loneliness and isolation.
If you need a friendly ear the Trust will put you in touch with another beneficiary who has time to listen, the perspective to understand and the right skills to support you.
What other resources can I access?
No Panic is an organisation which provides a helpline, step-by-step programmes, and support for people with anxiety disorders. Call them on 0844 967 4848 or visit their website.
Online forums and support for those who worry and have anxiety—the following websites may be helpful;
Elefriends – A supportive online community for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
Anxiety UK - A national charity helping people with anxiety.
No More Panic - Information for both sufferers and carers of those with anxiety.
What if those things aren’t helping or I’m feeling worse?
Please speak to your GP or one of the Medical Advisers at the Trust if you feel the above measures aren’t helping or you are feeling your anxiety is getting worse.
Contact us on 01480 474074 or email
Remember, you are not alone and help is available.