One area of mental health that is being spoken about more post-lockdown is anxiety. Anxiety can make certain tasks and situations seem like they are too much to take on and we may feel overwhelmed.
Anxiety can cause many different symptoms, whether they are physical, mental or how we behave.
Rebecca Ashton, Head of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, has put together a few simple tips on how to help reduce those anxious episodes, taking care of your mental health.
1/ Take time to breathe
A calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. By taking a deep breath in, filling your lungs, holding it for five seconds and then breathing out will help calm your breathing and heart rate, giving your body a chance to relax.
2/ The art of distraction
It is all about refocusing your mind and moving it away from the fears that have triggered the anxiety. By listening to some music, being creative, or playing a game can really help to give your mind a chance to tune into something away from that fear that you are feeling.
3/ Start talking
A problem shared is a problem halved. Talking to someone else will help you to reduce the weight of the issue in your head, and by doing so will give you a better opportunity to share those feelings with someone close to you.
4/ Get moving
Each time we exercise we release endorphins in our bodies. Any physical activity will help the body to feel better as well as make you feel more positive. Also being outdoors in nature can really help you manage those feelings of anxiety.
Driving Again, Post Lockdown
Rebecca said: “People are relieved to be getting back to a more normal way of life but understandably anxious too. What’s going to be expected of them, will they be fully aware of all the new rules and regulations, how will others interpret the rules? An open dialogue in this situation is hugely important. Drivers should not hesitate to tell others about any concerns they have.
“As people return to work it should be a combined effort between the employee and the employer to make things better; that way the employer will relieve a certain amount of stress on the employee because they will feel they have been involved in their plan to help them. There’s nothing worse than being kept in the dark.
“The key thing is to talk; mental health is something people often won’t talk about but stress is not something you should hide. People should take this seriously and certainly not laugh their concerns off. The least helpful thing anyone can say is ‘Don’t be so stupid.’ ”
About Anxiety Support Services Post Lockdown
For those who would like a refresher course as they return to driving after an extended period off the road, driver assessments are available and you can find out about your choice of training courses at the IAM Roadsmart website.
To find out about other member only services to address anxiety levels – visit the FOXY Lady Drivers Club website.