How to Feel Less Trapped

25th May 2021

Being forced to stay indoors, work online, and suffer cabin fever and lack of social contact caused many people anxiety and mental ill-health, and their self-esteem and confidence took a dive. Now that we are slowly getting our freedom back, some of us feel trapped in the anxiety of being with others again, having lost some of our communication skills, nervous about going out and about in case we catch the virus. It feels as though we are out of control of our lives, whatever we do.

Self-care is more important than ever during challenging times. Nurturing yourself will help you feel good about yourself, which will help you cope when you feel trapped in your feelings.

Feeling trapped makes us nervous and anxious, and it's worse for people who already suffer anxiety. Here are some ways to help you feel calmer and less anxious and boost your physical, mental and emotional resilience so that your immune system keeps strong and protective during challenging periods. You certainly can feel in control of your well-being, however difficult things may be.

           Know that you are not alone. It's alright to feel like you do. Please know that many others have the same fears you have. Seek out somebody you trust and can open up to. They also may be needing somebody to chat with. Talking with like minds can be comforting. If you cannot speak with a colleague, many organisations give advice, support and uplift. Search out that positive support.

           Focus on things you can control, such as what you eat and drink, who you speak to, and other things that nobody can force you to do or not do. 

           Keep in touch with people who will give you support, not increase your stress. 

           If you stay home, use the time to get up to date with things, do some clutter clearing, catch up with friends by phone or video, and do some of those things you have been putting off. However small the time you spend on it, you will gain a sense of achievement.

           Take a break from the news and social media. Keep up-to-date but selective about what you listen to. There is so much confusion, misinformation and scaremongering going on. You can do without it.

           Do things you enjoy. You may feel that there is nothing enjoyable to do when feeling awful. But try reading a good book, chat with a friend, take an online course, do online word games or quizzes, listen to music and much more. Give the one activity a go and see how you feel.

           Breathe. Increasing your oxygen intake lowers the impact of anxiety on your body. Muscles relax, and mind-chatter calms down. A few times a day, think breathe. On the in-breath, say 'I'. On the out-breath, say 'Am' and drop your shoulders. Your whole body will relax. Saying I Am will help you feel calm and centred.

           Mindfulness involves focusing your attention on this very moment. It will take you out of your mind and your worries. Focus on something pleasant, like a flower or candle in front of you and keep looking at it. You cannot think about the past or worry about the future in this state.

           Eat healthily and avoid junk food. Nutritious food and drink will keep your energy levels high.

           Don't overdo caffeine and alcohol. Reducing stimulants will help you to feel calmer and sleep better.

           Exercise. Walk on the spot or move your arms around to keep your body toned. If you have stairs, walk up and down. If you are out and about again, enjoy the fresh air, flowers, trees, birds and feel good about moving your body.

Nobody can direct your breathing, eating, exercising, relaxing in a bubble bath, reading a good book, nor whom to chat with. You are most definitely not trapped here because you direct all these activities. Self-care is the most empowering way to feel good about yourself. Let me know how you get on.

Copyright © 2021 Brenda Martin 

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