Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

I think this koala is sending a message to you and I about anxiety!

In the midst of darkness,

there is light.

Check out: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8115879/COVID-19-Australian-researchers-CURE-coronavirus.html

Good people are working,

to help.

Countering,

pandemic anxiety,

with realistic hope,

is powerful medicine.

Hope floats,

and flies.

Let’s move on with building our toolbox to manage pandemic anxiety.

ANXIETY TOOLBOX:

Self Talk Reframing (Cognitive Therapy)

Guided Imagination/Visualization

Exposure Management

Progressive Relaxation

Distraction in Action

Self Soothing

Spiritual Meditation/Prayer

Second Voice

Exercise, Diet & Good Health Practices

We covered the first three in the last post. Here are the next three.

I would love for you to add tools of your own that are, or have, worked for you. With your help we could build a truly awesome anxiety busting toolbox so people can pick and choose what is comfortable for them. If you have some tools that work let me know. It will be helpful to all of us.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation was developed in the 1930’s during The Great Depression which was a stressful time too. It is a systematic method for relaxing your body and mind. It emphasizes muscle tension and release, and is focused specifically on quelling the actions of anxiety on your body and mind. Google it if you want to learn more. Here is a simple example:

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-i-practice-progressive-muscle-relaxation-3024400

If you couple this with focus on your breathing similar to what is taught by yoga, and practice both together, you will have really powerful tools to bust anxiety. Here is how to breathe as you tense and release your muscles:

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-i-practice-deep-breathing-for-anxiety-3024389

Even if you try these techniques for the first time now, it will help to lessen the unconscious muscle tension and shallow breathing that is our reaction to anxiety. When we are anxious too much adrenaline and cortisol flood our body. This weakens our immune system. Conscious breathing combined with muscle relaxation help us stop stress hormone release and protect our body and our mind.

There are many different progressive relaxation options available online that will lead you through the program. Pick one you like and try it out.

Distraction in action is doing the things that make you, you.

Being true to yourself, engaging in your own interests, hobbies and passions, is possibly the most powerful tool of all. If you have passion and hobbies that bring you joy (you are all bloggers, you have these strengths) these passionate interests can pull you out of bad situations, keep you focused on what engages your best self, and keep you steady in the storm.

Lots of us are home now. This is the time to follow your passions fully, indulge your creativity, and let it help you escape from the noise.

A blogger pointed out to me how important humor is in managing anxiety and doomsday thinking. You can’t laugh and panic at the same time. Humor is a saving grace.

Self Soothing is basically devoting time to provide your own TLC. We normally neglect ourselves. When you are under increased stress, as we all are now, taking time everyday to soothe yourself is critically important. What is self soothing to you? Is it a warm bath, watching a game, playing an rpg, listening to music, cooking, gardening, working out, the possibilities are endless. Make a mental list of what is comforting to you. The more things you come up with the better for you. Make time for these things now, everyday, more than ever.

And remember, turn off the news after you have gotten the gist of it. The bad gets reported, and the good gets neglected. We need to remember to also focus on the good.

Cheers & calm to you, from me, at The Holler~

236 thoughts on “Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~

  1. This is truly helpful and of course the adorable koala makes me smile, Cindy. I’ve tried to view and read news in small bits, but in GMA this morning, I saw hope as people who were afflicted with Covid19 described their situations and subsequent recoveries.

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    • That is wonderful news isn’t it. I think the media has a very hard time balancing their reporting in favor of sensationalizing. Sensationalizing does not help in a crisis. Reading about recovery does. Stay safe Terri ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this post, Cindy! It always amazes me that there are so many different responses to a big disaster or problem. Some run in panic, sure the world is ending. Others try to take advantage of the situation. Others are stressed, but do their best to stay calm and rational. Still others try very hard to find a solution…. And thank goodness for that group, they give the rest of us hope!

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    • Yes. You can tell a lot about a person’s core character by how they behave in a crisis. I find it interesting that some people become more calm and more rational in a crisis. These are the people you want to be around. Stay safe & well Anne ❤

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  3. Yet another helpful tool is implicit in the splendid photos of koalas oblivious to our anxieties.  My yard hosted its own small flower show today, just before predicted rain and warmth will probably end the crocus season. It was a consolation to see plants and critters that do their thing w/o fretting about feckless “leaders” who exacerbated the COVID-19 disaster.

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    • Yes, nature is our retreat and our solace. We are of nature and being in it is incredibly calming for me, and it seems for you as well. I do think animals may be smarter. They don’t argue about presidents and toilet paper! 😉 Be well my friend and I am glad you have such a welcoming retreat from the noise. ♡´・ᴗ・`♡ I had to come back and add to my reply. I didn’t see your stunning flower photo in my WP reader. It is gorgeous and thank you for sending it to me ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. oh my goodness those Koalas are cuties. We are artists, and as luck would have it we just got commissioned to do 2 24 X 36 paintings. It couldn’t have come at a better time. We also love photography. Only one of us is home right now but the other may follow shortly, and if so there is so much we can do. 🙂 I just followed your instagram. I post our art there. Firewaves21. You should post more photos. Your photography is so beautiful.

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  5. Wishing you calm as well, Cindy. Thank you for sharing these stunning photos. I’ll bet cuddling one of these Koalas would reduce my anxiety. Petting the cats or even just having them in the room is calming. Watching the hummingbirds at the fountain is a good stress-buster as well.

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    • Nature, wildlife and animals. These seem biologically programmed to make us feel at peace and connected with something much bigger. I will add these to the final post. Thank you & stay safe my friend ❤

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  6. I wish I could be as relaxed as that koala and sleep like in picture 1. I have been avoiding news like the plague! I saturated my mind with the news one day and had nightmares about my family being afflicted. I now just get news and advice from my office announcements and virtual townhalls. They are not sensational which helps a lot. Stay safe and healthy.

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  7. Cindy,

    Over my 30+ year experience of providing therapy (OT in behavioral health and physical medicine settings), as I image you observed too, the concept of defense mechanisms waned in favor of more attitude and action oriented coping skills techniques. While I agree that this general trend has been more practical than wallowing in a Woody Allen movie character, I have certainly noticed folks (clients, coworkers, and neighbors) regressing into whatever their defense mechanism of habit has been. Denial, blaming, picking fights, panic hoarding, isolating, etc. (I know I have my own techniques too, thus am not claiming that my impulses do not exist… and yes, have stocked up on TP and extra feed for our animals). I have been encouraging folks to use more practical strategies: anticipating, contemplation, sublimation. Your words of calm, reassurance, and guidance are appreciated. And, such cuddly photos from your archives! Enjoy spring in your hallow. – Oscar

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    • Thank you Oscar. Yes we are seeing a lot of defensive reactions which is understandable since events are stressful. Your farm and my Holler are good medicine. Since food in supply is being interrupted, I am preparing the beds for a more extensive vegetable crop this year and enjoying working outside, planting more flowers too. Stay safe my friend & thank you for your good ideas ♡♡

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes catastrophes bring out the best in humans. For nature. Your heartwarming Koalas and great advice are mindfullness in the true sense. ❤️Stay safe❣️🍀

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    • Thanks Cindy, your posts make all the difference 🙂 Just getting the main news and blocking the constant sensationalist news updates throughout the day makes a huge difference to the anxiety levels. Sharing humerous moments albeit somewhat dark humour goes a long way too. And staying out of the supermarkets unless unavoidable!! The state of them recently and the evidence of the obscene greed and selfishness of the human race is soul destroying. A day of work helped too! It’s been a beautiful sunny day and it really helps keep thoughts and anxieties in balance. But just wait till the dark closes in…the nights are the most difficult times for me just now. Roll on the morning light again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am so glad you find something useful. Thank you for letting me know. And yes, night time makes exacerbates stress. Take heart. You are not alone with this by a long shot. We are all struggling together. I am glad to hear you are limiting the attention grabbing headlines, using humor, and staying out of grocery stores. I am doing all of these things too and they work, and I am binge watching Masterpiece on my kindle eac night. Something to look forward too. Stay safe & take good care my friend (♡´❍`♡)

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    • Thank you for for such a thoughtful comment and happy you enjoyed the koalas. We are doing well so far, thank you, planting spring flowers and vegetables. Good time for a good summer garden. Stay safe & thank you (。・‧̫・。)♡

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Cindy, I’m not sure what happened but somehow my following your blog was erased? I don’t know if others have had this problem, but I feel like I have missed important messages from you.
    I am 100% in agreement with you when you say we cannot laugh and panic at the same time.
    I hope our laughter sustains us in this turbulent time.
    Sending warmest wishes always to you and yours at The Holler.
    We shall rise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this happens to me too. I get unfollowed from people without knowing it and people I follow don’t show up in my reader. It is frustrating. Thank you for reaching out and fixing things. Stay safe and keep on laughing my friend (♡´❍`♡)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for continuing this topic, Cindy. I had more than enough challenges to getting myself out of the house before all this started. Between a couple of early (but large) setbacks and this stuff, the scant progress I made when I first relocated is now in the minus range.
    the koala is a perfect spokesperson for calm. Thanks for the ideas and tools. Hugs on the wing.

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    • I am sorry Teagan. How difficult and discouraging. Hopefully the light on the horizon will get brighter soon. Hang in there my friend and be compassionate and caring towards yourself. We all are only human and these are frightening days. Love to you my friend ♡♡

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  11. Pingback: Hope on the Horizon: Pandemic Anxiety Management II~Cindy Knoke | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  12. A wonderful and refreshing post Cindy, panic has now evolved into anxiety, which gives rise to stress, this then goes on to mental overwhelming. This in itself will become a major problem in the future, particularly the elderly, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  13. Cindy, your words “When we are anxious too much adrenaline and cortisol flood our body. This weakens our immune system” is exactly why I force myself to do this. However, I’m not very successful at it yet. Thank you.

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    • You will get better the more you practice. Half of the work you are doing goes unnoticed at first, but it is happening. You are becoming more aware of how stress feels in your body, and the more you do this, the sooner you can start to counteract it before it builds up. This really is the most important, albeit subtle part. დ დ

      Like

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