Seven strategies for managing anxiety

Psychotherapist, Ben Amponsah outlines seven key strategies to help teachers and education staff to manage anxiety during the coronavirus crisis.

Videos / 18 mins watch

7 strategies to manage anxiety teachers and education staff

Watch this short video for Ben’s seven strategies to help teachers and education staff manage anxiety,

Here are Ben’s top tips

1.

Manage your worries

Writing down your worries can help them become more manageable and  less overwhelming

Analyse the evidence for and against the worry

Do some problem solving to help decide where you are able to take action

Allocate, and boundary, specific worry time so that you don’t worry throughout the day

Get enough sleep


2.

Manage your information

The amount of news and information available can be overwhelming:

Choose your news sources carefully and ensure that they are trustworthy and reliable

Allocate a time for catching up with news and information, rather than reviewing a constant drip feed

Limit the amount of time spent on news


3.

Communication with friends and family

Limit the conversations or contact with people that make you more anxious

Let close friends or family know if they do things that make you feel anxious

Limit your consumption of social media, unfollow or mute people or groups that make you more anxious 

Talk things through with trusted friends and loved ones, tell them how you are feeling regularly


4.

Shift your perspective

Everything feels challenging at the moment and it is easy to start to catastrophise (think the worst case possible)

Notice negative thinking patterns – can they be challenged?

Identify positive things that have happened today to balance the negative thinking e.g. keep a gratitude diary


5.

 Establish a routine to beat isolation and loneliness

The education profession is highly social and so in lockdown you may be particularly affected by the loss of connection with colleagues and students:

Get a routine to avoid bad habits and boredom which can increase anxiety and affect your mental health

Get up, get dressed and eat regularly

Schedule your day

Keep contact with friends and relatives regularly

 Keep active and exercise regularly

Do something you never had time for before e.g. writing, gardening, photography etc


6.

Manage relationships

Relationships during lockdown will be challenging so acknowledge this

Plan family meetings

Anticipate conflict and agree how to manage it

Have a routine and structure for kids

Be honest with kids about what is going on and how you are feeling

Schedule screen time

Occupy kids and get their input on what activities they want to do


7.

Accept Uncertainty

Reducing the need for certainty will reduce your worries. It is an uncertain world we live in all the time not just during this crisis.

It is ok to feel sad at the loss of your normal life and social interactions

It is ok to feel angry that you cannot see friends and family

Realising that your feelings are normal will help you accept them


Next steps
Useful further information
NHS Every Mind Matters -  top tips to cope with anxiety
Mind - self-care for anxiety and panic attacks 
Video from psychologist on ways of dealing with anxiety and ‘panic in a pandemic’
British Psychological Society - how to talk to children of different age groups 
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