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AHS: Helping manage anxiety after loss

Tips on how to manage worry and anxiety

Loss is difficult — even more so during a pandemic. Worry and anxiety can develop after a major loss. Anxiety is a general feeling of tenseness or uneasiness. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as an upset stomach or a headache. It can also cause you to act in ways that are unusual for you, such as being more demanding, less patient, or more irritable.

Worries and anxiety can sometimes seem to take over your life, making you feel like everything is falling apart at the same time. You may need to slow down and take things one at a time. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help from someone you trust.

You can manage your worry and anxiety by:

• Talking or writing about the things that are bothering you. Even if you are not sure what is bothering you, finding words for your feelings often helps you figure out what is causing your anxiety.

• Taking charge of whatever you can. Making plans to deal with your day-to-day activities and concerns helps relieve the worry and anxiety that springs from a sense of insecurity. However, resist the urge to make major life decisions when you are anxious or worried.

• Allowing other people to do some things for you that you would normally do yourself. This may be difficult. If worries and concerns are interfering with your ability to take care of personal needs such as getting groceries and other responsibilities, ask for help from others. Allowing other people to help you, such as dropping off groceries, also helps them, because it gives them an opportunity to show their care and concern for you.

• Asking for comfort. You may need to talk to someone you trust to help you feel less anxious and worried. Talk to someone you trust. This is not a sign of weakness — it is a sign that you are aware of your need and you are taking good care of yourself.

If intense worries and high anxiety last longer than a few days, talk with your health professional or a mental health professional. Counselling, medicine, or a combination of the two may help you manage anxiety that makes it difficult for you to function.

Help is available by calling the Mental Health Helpline 1-877-303-2642 or visiting www.ahs.ca/helpintoughtimes.

– Submitted by Alberta Health Services