Coping with Change and Anxiety

How can I cope with my anxiety around change?

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event and has brought so much change to how we live our lives. Even in areas where there are fewer restrictions, some things may look different to how they did before the lockdown, and this can cause worry and anxiety. This is perfectly understandable but there are positive ways to cope with this.

Often we see that people tend to cope with change in a couple of different ways, though they may use a combination of both of these:

  1. Escape coping: Often there can be a temptation to try to escape or avoid the change. For example, this may mean avoiding going to an appointment that you are worried about or sticking with behaviours that feel safe. Although this may seem the easiest option in the short term, it can mean that anxiety about the situation builds and builds, when often the situation still needs to be addressed. 
  2. Control coping: This way of coping tends to be more positive and proactive. It involves accepting the difficult feelings that may be present, and looking at how to manage these in a healthy way. This could be through reaching out for support or use of distraction techniques, for example. Often being able to draw upon techniques that encourage you to cope through taking control can be more beneficial.

One way to feel more in control is by making sure you understand the changes that are happening. Often a helpful way to do this is through trying to take things one step at a time, particularly at the moment when things are so uncertain. We can’t know yet how everything is going to change in the future, so we can only work with the information we’ve been given. If it helps, write down the facts (as you know them at the moment) to keep you focused on ‘one thing at a time’.

It’s natural to be worried, but dwelling on the unknown can cause a lot of distress and anxiety without doing anything to help. You could try writing down your worries as a way of ‘getting them out of your head’. The worry tree diagram below could also be helpful.

You may also find our information about routines helpful in managing these anxieties.

Page last updated: 12/11/2020