Why create an Anxiety Plan post COVID-19?
With the challenges of the lockdown we now face the prospect of return.
It may be work, school or gently stepping out of the home for the first time in a long time.
Having worked with and living in a home where the anxieties lift the roof from the eaves on particularly high arousal days. The concept of Anxiety Planning has been discussed at length within the team at the new School Silver Bridge in Taunton, Somerset.
Probably not a new idea but it seems natural a plan for coping with anxiety driven patterns of behaviour would run alongside any plan for behaviour.
Many of us, our children, our friends, employers and employees are experiencing some kind of trauma reaction. The trauma of losing family, friends, events and those quality times. Grieving for what should have been and perhaps will now never will be.
The trauma of feeling disconnected, uncertain of the future and asking if our future prospects can maintain our security.
From an academic approach we can find evidence and research to help us understand the Cortisol impact on our brain and body. (If you are unaware of this then do join one of our workshops we cover this in lay man’s terms www.autismsomerset.org).
When we are constantly being triggered to climb the anxiety ladder our ability to cope with even the simplest of social interaction or task can cause us to feeling completely overwhelmed and it may only be 7.30 am!
Broken sleep, constantly worrying about the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s, combined with over or under eating, little wonder nerves are literally frayed.
What we do know is, even if you are not experiencing any of these symptons, if you’re living or working with someone who is, then the atmosphere seems to carry the feelings. Can we catch anxiety? We might chase someone up the ladder but wouldn’t it better to calmly be at the bottom of the anxiety ladder, holding the space, being the Safe person?
When we say safe person we mean
Available to be aware of fear and anxiety - regardless of behaviours
Feelings are validated - holding the space
Experience this as sharing your own ability to self regulate and to offer clear compassionate direction
Being the safe person means we can lend our experience to assist others when they don’t know what to do instead. Being the safe person means we have a plan A,B and C.
Planning and preparation in the home, at school, college, work, leaving the home and social engagement is where we can use the Anxiety Plan.
Autism Somerset CIC has created this Anxiety Plan template. You should adapt the template to suit the needs of individuals. Use the individuals existing strategies, identify a SAFE Person, a safe space, create Exit strategies and as importantly Returning strategies. Use the individual’s words as much as possible and particularly when describing feelings, after all it’s their Anxiety and they need to help us create to the plan.