How to deal with anxiety during stressful times

Ideas from best-selling author Liggy Webb

Healthy Living > Mental health > How we can deal with anxiety during stressful times


Blog Article | By Liggy Webb 7 April 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt and dominate our lives, feelings of anxiety are completely normal during these uncertain times. Each person will be impacted in a different way and it is important to remember that you are not alone. Already there are so many stories emerging of human kindness and compassion, and of people pulling together to help and support one another.

Illustration of people holding hands and stood on large jigsaw puzzle pieces

You do not need to feel alone or scared, and reaching out for support and guidance is an important part of managing anxiety through challenging times. There are many coping mechanisms that will help you to manage your anxious thoughts and balance your stress levels.

It is worth bearing in mind that there is a great deal of advice and information in circulation – some of it very valuable and important, some of it not. So don’t believe every story you read, and always fact-check against a reliable and well-evidenced source. It is also important to balance your intake of daily news and for every negative thing you hear or read, make sure that you actively seek out some positive stories that will uplift you. A healthy balance is essential for your mental health and wellbeing.


Understanding how to manage uncertainty will also help a great deal with managing anxiety. If you start to get carried away and allow yourself to imagine the worst-case scenario, you will start to feel out of control and become more anxious. While at times you may feel out of control, it is important to remember that you are totally in control of the choice you make, in terms of how you respond to these feelings. Taking life one step at a time will help you to stay calmer. It is also extremely helpful to be optimistic and to think positively. This will help you to be able to process what is going on around you in a much more balanced way.


Positive thinking is not about ignoring what is happening and burying your head in the sand; it is more about establishing a healthy and balanced perspective. Out of every problem, there is always an opportunity. By acknowledging and focusing on this, you will feel more energised and hopeful.

Illustration of two people leaning on opposite sides of a whiteboard

'Become a possibiltarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities.

Always see them, for they are always there.' - Norman Vincent Peale

Establishing some healthy habits straight away will help you to look after your mental health and also avoid the negative effects of stress. Pacing yourself is an essential part of avoiding burnout, which is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. This can happen if you feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Managing your anxiety around stress is essential because of the impact it can have on your immune system.

Illustration of a man and woman leaning either side of a whiteboard

'The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.' - Sydney J Harris

One way to stay calm and balanced is to be very disciplined about building relaxation time into your day, and this will help you to look after your overall wellbeing. Winding down and relaxing is essential for managing anxiety levels, and even just basic breathing exercises can be very beneficial. This can also help with your sleep, which is an important way of allowing your brain to consolidate your memories and process information. Sleep also helps your body to repair itself. Rest and sleep will help to ease anxiety, which in turn will help you to cope better during the day.


Learning all about the tools and techniques to manage anxiety will help you to build your personal resilience. This is an essential life skill to develop, and your ability to be resilient to stress, setbacks, adversity and change depends so much on your inner resources and strength. Being a resilient person is more than just being able to recover and survive, it is also about learning to grow and thrive.


In summary


By following the advice and guidelines from the Government, who are doing everything they can to help keep us safe, we will get through this challenging time. The lessons we learn along the way will make us stronger and fitter for the future.


Taking each day at a time and doing the small things that are within your control will help to ease the build-up of anxiety. Most important of all – be kind to yourself, take one step at a time, and remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together, and this will pass.

Illustration of a man and woman leaning either side of a whiteboard

'Feelings are something you have; not something you are.' - Shannon L. Alder

Liggy Webb is an award-winning and bestselling author, presenter and international consultant. She is also the founding director of The Learning Architect, an international consortium of behavioural skills specialists. She is recognised as a thought leader on human resilience and works with a wide range of businesses focusing on optimising potential through continual learning and behavioural agility.


Liggy believes that the diversity of her clients has provided her with tremendous insight into the many and varied challenges that people currently face in a rapidly changing and often volatile world.


Discover more about Liggy on her author page.

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