As coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, you may realize your life has changed. You’ll have to wear a face mask for quite some time, get used to physical distancing, or even work from home. You might find yourself going back to your workplace, still fearing the virus and what it can do to your body. If that’s how you feel, you should know that it’s normal. The current situation took the whole world by surprise, and people globally experience the same emotions as you do.
Another contributor to the feeling of anxiety can also be social media. Isolation prompts you to spend more time online, and after FaceTime is over, you may continue to scroll aimlessly, taking in the bad news over and over again. Even if you weren’t anxious before, chances are you will be now. Luckily, there are many things you can do to lessen your anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. And no, you don’t have to leave your home and expose yourself to risks.
Realizing You Have Anxiety
If you know that you already had anxiety before the pandemic started, at least you’re aware of another enemy you need to fight. It’s hard, but you already know how to find solace. But if you woke up one day covered in sweat, trembling, or breathing rapidly, you should know that you probably experienced anxiety symptoms due to the pandemic. Here’s what you can do to cope with anxiety.
Understanding How Coronavirus Works
Facts on social media aren’t the same as facts from credible sources, so having correct information can help you understand what you’re dealing with. Researchers worldwide are posting the latest updates online, making them easily accessible to the general public. Head over to official websites such as CDC, WHO, or your local government websites to learn the latest info. When you stop listening to rumors, your stress level may decrease. Focusing on legitimate facts can also help you make an informed decision about how to act in a specific situation.
Know the Safety Measures
Reading about safety measures also provides you with a sense of safety. You’ll learn how your community and businesses around you react to COVID-19 and what protocols they need to follow to keep everyone safe. That still doesn’t mean you’re free to do what you want—you too must follow the safety measures to help keep others and yourself safe. It’s important to remember not to go beyond safety measures. There’s no need to damage the skin from washing your hands too much.
Stay Connected with Others
Isolation can be tough. But that doesn’t mean that you must sit in solitude. Reach out to your friends or family online. You can do many things—play games, watch movies, organize an online party, drink coffee, and similar. The important thing to know is that you’re not alone, and many people feel the same as you do.
Channel Your Anxiety
Even though it seems hard, you’ll have to channel your anxiety and not let your emotions take over your life. Here’s how you can achieve peace of mind.
You may think that alcohol will relax you, and it’s true since alcohol is a sedative, but it brings more risks than rewards in the long run. Drinking alcohol doesn’t protect you from COVID-19. Instead, it increases your risk of health problems. And when it comes to anxiety, heavy consumption over prolonged periods can enhance your anxiety due to changed levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in your brain.
Instead of drinking, turn to exercise. You don’t need any special equipment or to go to the gym. Exercising at home can be equally beneficial. Start slowly and exercise at your own pace. If you skip a workout, don’t be hard on yourself, but make sure to continue tomorrow. Try to eat healthier too, and don’t forget to indulge in cheat days occasionally. Exercising will help you shift focus from social media, news, and numbers to how you look and feel.
If you’re the type of person who dislikes exercising, meditation can help you cope with anxiety. It’s a way to reduce stress and clear your mind, helping you achieve mindfulness and peace. Meditation can help you:
- Change perspective on stressful situations
- Focus on the present
- Increase self-awareness
- Reduce negative emotions
- Improve patience
Practicing gratitude can help you focus on the things that you have and remain present in the now. When you practice gratitude, you increase dopamine levels that make you feel good. You can call your loved ones and thank them for being there or express gratitude during one of your meditation sessions.
Seek Professional Help
If all else fails and you realize you’re dealing with something that you can’t overcome, seeking professional help is the best thing you can do. You’re not alone, and you shouldn’t deal with anxiety on your own, either. Almost all therapists are using telehealth at the moment, so you don’t need to leave your home or limit yourself to your local therapists. A great place to seek help is the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as they are also currently focused on telemental health. If you’d rather avoid speaking with a real person, there are many chatbots and apps out there that can assist you. These apps are usually free and accessible from any mobile device.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is here to stay until the vaccine is developed, and it may take months or even years before that happens. What you need to realize is that anxiety in an abnormal situation is normal, and the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely an abnormal situation for the entire world. To beat the feelings of anxiety, you need to know how the virus works. By seeking information from legitimate sources, you’ll react better to the world around you. If you feel stuck at any point, channel your anxiety through exercise, meditation, or gratefulness.
These are some of the best ways to focus on something else and live in the present moment. Anxiety can sometimes be persistent, and to cope with it, you might need professional help. Today, doctors use telehealth, which means you can reach out to a mental health specialist anytime and anywhere. COVID-19 has to end eventually, but you have all the resources out there to help you fight anxiety in the meantime.
About the Author: Andriana Moskovska is a digital marketing specialist and founder of Deals on Cannabis, a site that aims to provide credible information on CBD. When she’s not working, you will find her watching a documentary. She’s one of the biggest Lord of the Rings fans you’ll ever meet and a proud mom of two dachshunds who take up most of her free time.
- Anxiety Disorders, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
- Alcohol and Anxiety, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-and-anxiety#consequences
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
- How to Manage Anxiety as Your Community Reopens During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.danburyhospital.org/newsroom/articles/managing-anxiety-during-reopening
- How Practicing Gratitude Helps You Deal with Anxiety, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.rtor.org/2020/07/08/how-practicing-gratitude-helps-you-deal-with-anxiety/
- Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
- Telemental Health, Retrieved on 7/11/2020 from https://adaa.org/finding-help/telemental-health
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
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2 thoughts on “How to Lessen Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
Due to a number of factors related to COVID – a lack of connection to others, for example – it’s easy to see why others may feel stressed. I think this piece does a great job of going into detail about strategies that help people overcome the mental trials associated with this pandemic.
The COVID pandemic is not only affecting the physical health of people but also emotionally and mentally, don’t also forget, it has been greatly affecting our economy too. Knowledge of how the virus works helps us know the limits of our safety so as not to be paranoid about everything. Stay connected – that is truly important, although we are practicing social distancing, talking to our friends and family is very important.