Mental Health: Managing and Identifying Anxiety

Understanding anxiety and mental health issues and figuring out to manage them isn’t easy at the best of times. Given how the self-isolation of COVID-19 has impacted every part of our daily lives — from work, to childcare, to hanging out with friends — it’s more important than ever to be aware of what to look for when it comes to anxiety, and how to mitigate some of its effects.

Dealing with mental health is certainly not uncommon, with more that 40 million people in North America affected by it. But its causes can be complicated. Genetics and environmental factors play a role and what triggers anxiety for some, may not for others. Not knowing when this will be over, having to adjust our lives and routine, and managing the additional layers of having to work from home and home school our children has contributed to individuals feeling, and dealing with, anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

The frustrating part is that anxiety manifests differently in different people. That’s why if you’re experiencing acute symptoms, it’s so important to access a health professional and get a proper diagnosis. In the meantime, you can work through some of the symptoms on your own and find ways of coping that work for you.


Although we said it manifests in many different ways, some common symptoms are:

•  Worry

•  Fear

•   Muscle tension

•  Rapid heartbeat

•  Insomnia

•  Lack of focus

•  Physical discomfort

•  Restlessness

•  Irritability

You may also experience a panic attack, which may feel like a heart palpitation and come with sweats, shaking and a sense of doom.

Ways to cope

1. Connect with Friends, Family and Colleagues

Self-isolation and social distancing is important and will help control the spread of the virus, allowing our health care system to manage it effectively. At the same time, self-isolation can create feelings of loneliness, despair and depression, so take advantage of this time to connect with people in other ways. Pick up the phone and call friends and family for a long overdue catch up, use FaceTime or video conferring apps like Zoom to video chat with an individual or group, and make sure to reach out to others who may also need support and may be alone during this time.

2. Regulate Your Volume, Tone and Breathing

Staying calm sounds easier than it feels sometimes, but regulating your volume, tone and breathing can go a long way in de-escalating potentially stressful situations. Whether it’s dealing with the kids, or your partner, or with the essential worker at the grocery store, staying calm does have a huge impact on your state of mind and those around you.

3. Make Time for Self-Care

Self-care is key to meeting your own needs. Try the following things so you can not only take care of yourself, but others who might depend on you.

•  Play a board game

•  Practice deep breathing

•  Take a bath

•  Read about something other than the virus

•  Cuddle your pet

•  Start a digital detox (leave your phone alone for a while)

•  Exercise

Remember to ask for help when you need it.

By Staples Canada

January 01, 2021