Wellbeing Tips with WorryTree founder Louise Stevenson
As part of our wellbeing focus for January, we’ve been discussing tips for supporting your mental health during with lockdown. Last week we chatted with Louise Stevenson, the founder of WorryTree, a NHS recommended mobile app designed to help you manage your worries, and she has kindly shared with us her own tips for managing anxiety during lockdown.
Louise, who is also the co-owner of WorkHere - Hereford’s Co-working Space in High Town, created WorryTree after being diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and being referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Part of her therapist’s ‘homework’ was for her to record and challenge her worries. After writing down worries on the back of envelopes or in the Notes app on her phone, Louise searched for purpose-built app that would help her with this. When she couldn’t find one, she built it herself!
From her own experiences of anxiety, Louise understands the challenges and worries that are present at the moment, due to coronavirus and lockdown restrictions. She hopes these tips, which she uses in her life, may help others experiencing similar things.
Louise’s suggestions for managing anxiety and worry during lockdown are:
Be aware when you’re worrying. Practicing noticing when you’re worrying about something because awareness is the main thing!
Know what you can and can’t control. You can’t control the daily figures we see on TV or whether the NHS is under strain (unless that’s in your sphere of influence of course!!) but you can control the individual choices you make, like wearing a mask and social distancing
Create a plan for problem solving. If you do have some control, then problem solving and creating a plan for how you’re going to deal with your worry puts the control back in your hands and helps to teach your brain to be more productive and ruminating less.
Refocus your attention. If you’re worrying about something that you have no control over, then there are techniques you can use to mindfully refocus your attention (or distract yourself) and even doing that for a few minutes can really help, whether that’s putting on a favourite song, making a cup of tea or going out for some fresh air. The key is doing something that takes your mind off the worry for a few minutes.
Practice self-care. The usual self care things will help - get fresh air and exercise where possible, do the things that you love, and be sure to show yourself lots of compassion when it comes to home-schooling and juggling work.
Louise has also shared with us some links to some of her recent articles on WorryTree:
If you're struggling at the moment, then know that asking for help is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Speak to someone you can trust, like your doctor, a friend or relative, or text SHOUT to 85258 (UK) to start a conversation with a crisis support volunteer.
WorryTree is designed to be a simple and effective way to control worry based on recognised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. If you’d like to download the free WorryTree app, head to the app store or click here.