How to Handle Anxiety & Stress in a Crisis
The world is always changing, and it can be a scary and uncertain place. The uncertainties of life can cause increased stress and anxiety in many people. This increase is especially true during a time of crisis. Those people who already suffer from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression can often experience an increase in their symptoms. In addition, those who normally don’t experience extreme anxiety and stress can often find themselves in a mental health crisis as well.
A crisis can be a large-scale event that affects many people across the globe or in your community such as economic struggles. Or a crisis can happen on a personal level as well with changes in relationships or living situations. However the crisis occurs, it’s important to be prepared with how to handle anxiety in a crisis. We will discuss how to handle increased stress, how to reduce anxiety, and what to do in a serious mental health crisis.
Stress & Anxiety in Difficult Times
One of the most common effects of a crisis or difficult times is an increase in stress. Stress is a common part of day-to-day life, but it can be harmful when it becomes extreme stress or long lasting stress. These are common signs of extreme stress to watch for in yourself and your loved ones during a crisis:
- Changes in sleeping pattern or difficulty sleeping.
- Changes in appetite and eating patterns.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
- Difficulties relaxing.
Another common response to a crisis is an increase in anxiety. During a crisis, many people will feel less in control of their own lives, and that can cause an increase in anxiety and increased feelings of panic. Many of the signs of stress will also occur in those suffering from anxiety, but when anxiety gets severe during a crisis, some of these other signs may occur:
- Excessive worrying.
- Tense muscles.
- Panic attacks.
During a crisis, it is often simple to identify what is causing you stress or anxiety. But knowing the cause may not help with coping with anxiety during the crisis. There are certain techniques individuals can practice to help reduce anxiety and stress.
How to Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Once you identify the root, the next step is to find ways to cope. If you are experiencing stress during difficult times, there are some steps you can take to help reduce stress levels:
- Make healthy food choices. Healthy food will help you feel physically better and can help improve your mood. If you’re experiencing a lack of appetite, it can be hard to want to eat, but it’s important to continue to eat healthy.
- Exercise. Taking a walk outside in the fresh air can help reduce stress and anxiety. Doing yoga combines exercise and meditation and can be beneficial. Integrating some physical activity can help reduce stress anxiety and improve how you feel physically.
- Save time for yourself. Spend some time doing something you enjoy and relaxing. Taking time away from your daily activities can help reduce stress and improve your mood. If you enjoy drawing, spend half an hour a day drawing to help get your mind off of the crisis you may be experiencing.
- Get enough sleep. While it can be difficult to sleep when you’re stressed, it’s important to get enough sleep to stay happy and healthy. If you are struggling to fall asleep, spend time before bed practicing meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Take breaks from your stressor. If you are worried about current events or other large scale crises, spend some time away from the news and other outlets that could be leading to anxiety.
These steps can help address some cases of stress and anxiety during a crisis. But sometimes these self care techniques aren’t enough to help a severe mental health crisis.
What to Do in a Mental Health Crisis
If you are experiencing a serious mental health crisis, you need to get professional help. If it’s an emergency, call a helpline or visit an emergency room immediately. For a crisis that is not an immediate emergency, you may still need professional help and guidance. A mental health professional can provide the appropriate therapy and treatment to help guide individuals through a crisis.
At the Phoenix, we offer individually tailored treatment plans to provide relief for anxiety during a mental health crisis. Our mental health services can help you during a crisis and empower individuals and families to celebrate life with long-term solutions.