Overcoming COVID-19 anxiety entails strengthening your mind and taking anxiety-related preventive measures. The goal is not to eradicate anxiety but to reduce it and keep you going despite it.
Mental health is and has always been important. During this COVID-19 pandemic, you need to take extra care of your mental well-being. Anxiety, fear, obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and depression are some of the common escalated mental health concerns.
Tips to Overcome COVID-19 Anxiety
The level of effort required to manage the anxiety of coronavirus differs from person to person.
For example, if you were already having mental or physical health difficulties before this pandemic, you might experience a tougher time with anxiety than those who did not previously have the problem. And if you were managing well before, the situation has become overwhelming.
To cope with COVID-19 anxiety, some will need medication or therapy (or both.) Some will require a simple change of perspective.
Let’s start with these simple suggestions which you can implement on your own as protective measures toward anxiety during these tough times.
1. Start Where You Are
Being willing to take appropriate measures to lower or manage your anxiety indicates you know there’s a chance of a better life. Hence, you will not let the coronavirus anxiety or any other anxiety, to impair your judgments and paralyze your life.
COVID-19 anxiety promotes the perspective that life will always be depressing throughout because of the disease. However, going through tough uncertain times now doesn’t signify that your life will always be shrouded in continuous suffering.
No amount of worrying about what others are not doing right is going to fix them. Keep informing and encouraging those you can and foremost, start with yourself.
Try to comfort yourself when facing the pressure to do something sporadic. It’s not time to rush into making big decisions of your life like divorce, quitting your job, taking big loans, or moving to another place, when you are in an anxious or panicked state. Wait until the anxiety reduces.
2. Use What You Have
Remembering you are not alone in this may help lower COVID-19 anxiety. It is not the time for comparisons of what others have and you don’t. Connect with your loved ones even though you might be apart via the phone or online. Support them in whatever way possible, and avoid decisions which might put their lives or mental health at risk.
Kindness and empathy toward others help you to keep your mind off the anxiety triggers. Share encouragement, basic needs, or useful information with others. While doing so be considerate with others, instead of getting irritated by them. Instead of using your time to spread conspiracy theories which can increase people’s anxiety, only share what you know to be facts.
Avoid imposing your opinions on others about what you are doing as if everybody must do that. While you may still have your job and can work from home, there’s someone whose type of work cannot be done from home. Your viewpoints may be wrong from another person’s circumstances.
Only get what you need. Continue living within your means. If you can’t afford to buy sanitizers all the time, don’t fret. Scientists say proper handwashing with soap and water is enough. You don’t have to join the fuss and panic buying, especially if you can’t afford to. At least try to get the necessities of prevention i.e. soap and water. Then follow the rest of the instructions.
Coronavirus or not, you are always at risk of dying. Life is fragile but you have been easing yourself from the fear of death through seeking happiness and fulfilment. Therefore, there’s no reason to stop pursuing what brings you joy, if it’s within your capability to do so in the current circumstances.
3. Do What You Can
You can change how you feel and respond in regard to anxiety, but you cannot change others unless they are willing to. What you can do is enlighten or encourage them. Decide you want to feel differently and focus on the important things.
The first stages of change are tough but we are extraordinary beings capable of adapting. It’s a natural mechanism of survival inborn in human beings, to get used to what happens to you.
You can change, adjust, and adapt. Believe in your ability to do so despite the horrendous life events you are experiencing.
Repeat after me:
“I will do what it takes, even though it is tough.”
With such a mindset, you’ll build the foundations, skills, and abilities to you need to cope.
Gradually, the initial struggle will diminish and after a while, you will be like “If I survived this, I can survive anything.”
Also, don’t worry whether the government is going to hide information from you—they do that all the time, sometimes with good reasons like to minimize public panic.
Whenever you are reading or hearing information, ask yourself whether it’s an opinion or a fact. If it’s one individual’s opinion, you might absorb the fear and panic of that person, which will not be beneficial to your well-being.
At a time like this, fear sells because of the massive scale of anxiety about coronavirus. Therefore, the media seems cramped with negative sentiments although in truth there have been some positive outcomes.
It’s important to be informed and get updates about how it’s all going. You can’t miss the directives given by your government and health experts. It’s necessary information.
However, obsessing over the news and quickly spreading information we take in now can heighten your coronavirus anxiety without any useful results.
Not all information about COVID-19 is reliable or true. Some people are spreading their anxieties through speculation and you might take it all in simply because that person wrote in a “reliable” local newspaper. By believing everything you read, you absorb other people’s fears. Hence, to reduce COVID-19 anxiety, it’s advisable to limit your sources of info only to reputable sources like WHO.
Did you think you were not important, and that your life is useless? Coronavirus has taught you that by washing your hands you can greatly contribute to the survival or destruction of humanity. No matter who you are, where you are, what you have or don’t have, you are significant.
When your mind is fussing over the uncertain future and prioritizing the negative thoughts, emotions, remember, you only need to do what you can, use what you have and start where you are.
Stay safe. Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.