ANXIETY IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH



I’m seeing a huge increase in the number of people seeking to work with me right now. It’s suddenly exploded.


But why now?

Understandably, anxiety levels have increased, especially over the winter months. Let’s face it we have all had enough of this wretched pandemic, and it seems those struggling with all kinds of different emotional issues, are finding it overwhelming.


Some are worried about going back to work, or actually going back into the workplace, because their home is their safe place. Whilst others are really can't wait to see their colleagues again, and feel the buzz of others around them. But even that can cause anxiety, as to if they can hit the ground running. Or worried about their children and how they are coping.


The thing is that we have been cut off from many of our friends and families for such a long time now and as social creatures we need that connection to flourish. We haven't been able to see them in the flesh, and spend time over a cuppa, or a beer just idling away the time - not talking about anything in particular, just chatting about the family, having a good old belly laugh means a great deal – and that has been taken away from us, in an attempt to curb the spread of this wretched virus.


Whereas we would share our worries with a close friend, or family member – we can’t and haven’t been able to for absolutely months now. So that results in us bottling our worries up, pushing them down, trying to console ourselves by reminding ourselves there are many others worse off. But that reassurance doesn’t really help. It doesn’t make our worries go away.


We tend not to tell others about how we really feel because we reason they have enough on their plate and 'don’t want to burden them’ ( I hear that so many times.) and when at those times, I ask them - ‘if the shoe was on the other foot and your friend had a problem would you feel she was a burden? ‘ They reply that of course, they wouldn’t. So why would their friend feel that way?


Although we can talk on the phone or video call, it’s not the same as chatting face to face. That made itself abundantly clear to me when I met a friend for a socially distanced walk this week, for all the reasons I’ve written below.


HOW SHARING WORRIES WITH OTHERS REALLY HELPS


• Just saying it out loud, and hearing your own voice saying those words can put things into perspective • You are less likely to bottle things up inside, fearing the worst • It can normalise the situation because whomever you choose to share your thoughts with may also be feeling the same way, and that can reassure you • You don’t feel so alone.


Many of my clients need to be able to share their concerns, to have someone to listen to them, talk about their fears, frustrations, sadness, anger, anxieties…….. and feel there isn’t something wrong with them, and they aren’t alone.


Being able to talk to a complete stranger who doesn’t know them also helps. We don’t know anything about each other, and right now because we can’t meet face to face, I am working via Zoom or the telephone with people from all around the country. That makes it even safer for them, often sharing with me things they have never spoken about to another human being - without being judged, in the safe knowledge it won’t be shared with anyone else. For me it’s very special, to be in such a privileged position.


So, be kind and compassionate to yourself.

If you can, try and arrange a face-to-face meet up with a friend, as the restrictions are lifted. Put a date in your diary so you have something to look forward to. Hopefully, it becomes easier with the better weather coming.

If you are cautious about whether your friend may be overburdened by you sharing your concerns, remind yourself that you wouldn’t feel your friend was a burden by sharing their worries with you. If you are worried that they may find it too much, they check first. Ask them if it's ok.

I’ll admit, I have been known to start a message or a conversation with a friend, by saying ‘Rant alert’! It's

quite cathartic, and can often result in us both in giggles.

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