By the School Based Mental Health Team at Mary’s Center
Have you felt more anxious than usual recently? From the pandemic to police violence to the election, this year has thrown us a lot of curveballs that can feel overwhelming.
We all experience moments of stress, but sometimes that feeling does not go away or it intensifies. This can cause anxiety, a normal emotion that affects each person differently. As anxiety is building in your body, you may experience:
- Your heart racing
- The feeling that you can’t breathe normally
- Tensing and soreness in your neck and shoulders
- Butterflies in your tummy or inability to eat
- A sense of anger and irritability
- Shaking, fidgeting, tingling, or numbness
- Inability to think clearly
Anxiety is sometimes helpful when it acts as your body’s defense system, keeping you safe from any threats. However, we are not in immediate danger on a day-to-day basis, so it isn’t productive to feel anxious all the time.
When our body overreact to perceived threats, such as constantly worrying about catching COVID-19, we can take steps to reduce these feelings of anxiety. One option is distracting yourself with activities as simple as drinking water, going for a walk, listening to music, taking a shower, or talking to a friend. You can also practice mindfulness to keep your thoughts in the present moment and avoid spiraling.
For a simple mindfulness technique to stay grounded, focus on your breathing and then identify:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 thing you can taste
Try it now and see if you feel calmer!
These instant tips and tricks can be very effective in the short term, but you may want to seek out a therapist for long-term anxiety management. Learn more about Mary’s Center’s behavioral health services here. We are currently accepting new behavioral health patients in Maryland.
Mary’s Center has also developed resources specifically for teachers, parents, and students as they face an extra layer of stress in navigating virtual learning. Visit our School Based Mental Health webpage to access these resources.