Anxiety in a Time of Uncertainty
We are all in a tumultuous time period right now. A pandemic continues on, financial stressors are at an all-time high, and we are witnessing human rights violations from those meant to protect us. In addition, misinformation is everywhere, causing more panic and anxiety. And yet, many of us are attempting to go on like everything is business as usual and becoming frustrated with ourselves when we find that we are unable to work as well as we used to. Some of us are even trying to do more than just business as usual - maybe you feel like you should be doing even more to help those around you.
I've found myself in these situations many times over the past few months. I want to do everything I could before and then some, but I find myself hitting roadblocks. All I want to do is sit on the couch and watch Netflix. It's super frustrating, and also completely normal.
Anxiety overloads the human body. When faced with anxiety, our brains enter a mode called flight, fight, or freeze. This mode might be beneficial in some cases, but the anxiety we are experiencing due to current events today is not something that can be overcome by this mode. We rationally understand that we can't literally run from a worldwide pandemic and we can't literally fight institutional racism. We may try to do these things, by social distancing or protesting, which are helpful and do make a difference! And some of us may freeze, and feel incapable of doing anything, which is completely understandable as well. But we are stuck in a continuous feedback loop of flight, fight, or freeze.
Being in this mode takes a lot of energy, even when we are frozen. This is based in biological reasoning - our bodies are diverting all of the energy in our body to these three functions of flight, fight, or freeze. That's why we feel so exhausted and unable to do the work - we are constantly stuck in this mode right now. Our bodies have no excess energy to use to what we normally do, or what we want to do to feel productive.
Try to give yourself some grace and remember that what you are experiencing is normal and biological. It's completely normal to not feel like you are operating at 100% right now. It's okay to take things slowly and do what you can right now, and it's okay to give yourself a day or even just an hour to relax. And if you are a healthcare worker, essential worker, or activist, it's important to care for yourself so that you can care for others.
If you need someone to talk to, or want to learn more about how your brain works and some useful coping skills, reach out to me and let’s schedule an appointment - at 407-205-7266 or firstname.lastname@example.org