Uncertainty continues to run high as the world adapts to a new normal. With that uncertainty, it’s completely normal to feel anxiety during a pandemic. With a new COVID variant hitting the news, sometimes it feels like it’s a never-ending cycle of lockdowns and COVID mandates. As cases continue to peak and fall, it’s crucial that you find a way to cope and manage your anxiety during this time so that you can regain a sense of control in your life.
Returning to Pre-Pandemic Life and Dealing with Pandemic Anxiety
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted many people’s lives. Rates of anxiety and depression in the United States were four times higher between April 2020 and August 2021 than in 2019. Economic uncertainty, job losses, isolation, and lockdowns have magnified mental health issues for many.
With the nationwide vaccine rollout and society opening up, anxiety around getting back to normal is entirely understandable. After months of government messaging surrounding social distancing and safety, it’s tough to get back into your routine, whatever that may be. Although the new normal may look a little different, it’s important that you go at your own pace. There’s no need to rush to head back to the gym or go to every social occasion.
Managing COVID Fear and Anxiety
Feelings of fear, anger and worry are all normal at this time. Managing any fear around getting COVID is crucial to coping with anxiety during the pandemic. The current situation is unlike anything you’ve ever had to deal with. Some find the thought of getting COVID so crippling that they can’t leave the house. Despite vaccines, some people continue to feel extreme COVID anxiety. In this case, it could be a good idea to seek help from a mental health professional.
6 Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety During the Pandemic
When it comes to the best way to deal with anxiety, everyone is different. The key is to find something that works for you. Sometimes, it can feel like a trial-and-error process, but it’s worth it in the long run. Try these six coping mechanisms for anxiety to feel more in control.
Stay Informed but Don’t Obsess
While it’s good to stay informed of the situation, try to take a break from reading or watching the news. You can access the news 24 hours a day, and hearing about the pandemic constantly can do more harm than good. Limit your news scrolling to a couple of times a day so that you can stay informed but try not to obsess over it.
Focus on What You Can Control
When anxious thoughts fill your mind, it can feel overwhelming. Many things in this world are out of your control. Try to focus on what you can control in your life. Challenge those negative thoughts and focus on things that you can influence. This could be something simple to start with but is a step in the right direction.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
One way to help manage anxiety is through relaxation techniques. Common relaxation therapies for anxiety include:
A fair amount of research supports using relaxation therapies to manage anxiety. A review of over 200 studies found that mindfulness-based therapy was effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Don’t forget about your body. Take care of your physical health. Regular exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet promotes your overall well-being. Regular physical activity not only increases cardiovascular health but can benefit anxiety. Some good options for exercise for anxiety include swimming, brisk walking, and strength training.
Seek Professional Help
If your anxiety stops you from sleeping, working, or participating in everyday social interactions, it could be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Cognitive-based therapy focuses on modifying dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors and could be beneficial.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress, but it can wreak havoc when left unchecked. With a prolonged stressor like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise. As much as the world is ready to move on, accepting a new normal and finding ways to manage your anxiety is crucial to supporting your overall health.
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