If, like me, you’re someone with an anxiety disorder, this whole pandemic situation has probably made things especially difficult for you. And given all the uncertainty and our lack of control over pretty much everything right now, even those who typically don’t have an issue with anxiety are feeling it. Regardless of which category you fall into, chances are that you could use a little help right now—especially if that help is free.
Several years ago my therapist recommended that I purchase and use an anxiety workbook. It was full of activities and exercises designed to allow me to think through the root causes of my anxiety and help reframe my thinking patterns as a coping mechanism. As I’ve been making my way through the past few weeks, I’ve revisited the workbook to remind myself of what’s actually going on in my brain, as a strategy for trying to feel more in control of things.
Recently, I came across a free, downloadable workbook focused specifically on dealing with anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak. Written and released by The Wellness Society—an organisation that tries to bridge the gap for people who aren’t able to access traditional therapy—the workbook was created by mental health professionals to address the unique concerns of life during this pandemic.
The workbook contains several sections with different exercises, including planning your information diet, understanding your spheres of influence, learning how to use thought challenging as a strategy, and coming up with distractions that will actually work. Many of the tools are very similar to the ones in my general anxiety workbook.
For me, the thought challenging exercises were the most helpful. They work by forcing you to question beliefs that you may hold as absolute truths, but in reality are not, and are likely major sources of your anxiety. I, for instance, have a problem catastrophising—or assuming that the worst possible scenario in any given situation will occur, and then convincing myself that it’s inevitable. This is not a helpful mindset any time, but especially not during a global pandemic.