How to Keep Your Anxiety in Check During the Pandemic

How to Keep Your Anxiety in Check During the Pandemic
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With the COVID pandemic entering its second year, many of us have to cope with the ongoing stress of anxiety, depression, fear, and many other issues.

Even if you are coping with coronavirus-related mental health issues fine on your own, there might be someone near and dear to you who is not handling this strange situation that well. 

Here is what you can do to keep your anxiety in check during the pandemic. 

It is OK to ask for help

Even when things seem too tough to handle, remember that someone out there can help you.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Psychotherapy can be done online via phone or videoconferencing and is an excellent option if you’re in self-isolation or worried about going to a clinic.

If a therapist can’t help, consult a psychiatrist; experts say that some people with intense health anxiety can benefit from taking an SSRI antidepressant.

Importantly, be assured that the anxiety will be temporary for most people and will reduce over time, mainly once the virus has been contained.

Limit the amount of info and choose your sources carefully

It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening in your community, so you can follow advised safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. But there’s a lot of misinformation going around.

Try setting a limit of thirty minutes for news and social media combined each day, as well as challenging yourself to take two full days each week with no information or social media.

The more we read and hear about the pandemic, the more frightening it becomes, and the less chance we have to distract ourselves and do things that can take our minds off it.

Although it might be tempting to keep informed or difficult to escape, limiting your exposure to media, news, and social media about coronavirus will help quell the panic.

Focus on the things you can control

There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what will happen in our communities. But, as long as we’re focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our control, this strategy will get us nowhere—aside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed.

Try to focus on the here and now- not the past and not the future. Live in the moment and take one day at a time. Practicing mindfulness can help you stay focused on the moment and help you get the most out of your everyday life. 

The practices of mindfulness and meditation have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and when practiced regularly, can help you feel more in control of your state.

Exercise 

With so many gyms closed and warnings to practice social distancing, it may be harder to find time and space to work out. But physical activity can significantly reduce anxiety.

And while any type of exercise might help you feel better, some studies have found that strength training is especially useful in reducing anxiety.

If you've got some dumbbells, use them. If not, use your body weight or some resistance bands. Doing so can build both your physical and mental muscles.

Stick to a routine 

Having a healthy routine can have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Go back to basics: eating healthy meals, physical exercise (e.g., walking, stretching, running, cycling), getting enough sleep and doing things you enjoy. Even if you're in self-quarantine or working from home, there are many ways to develop new routines and stay healthy.

During this time of change, it's natural for our minds to think of all the usual activities we may not be able to do at the moment. Make a conscious shift to focus on the actions we are still able to do or those that we may have more opportunity to do if we're at home more often.

For some people, it might end up feeling like quite a productive or restful period. You could work through your to-do list or read a book you'd meant to get to. But, just making it to the next day is enough. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. 

Stay connected 

Staying in touch with those you care about will help maintain good mental health during long self-isolation periods. That is why you should balance having a routine and making sure each day has some variety.

It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others and connect with other supportive people. Try to stay connected to supporting people in your life, so you feel less isolated and lonely. You might need to try new ways of connecting that you haven’t before.

Remember that physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection. There are many ways we can use technology to stay connected and both give and receive support remotely.

Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways to think about or deal with a stressful situation.

Do not repress your emotions 

Allow yourself time to work through your thoughts about coronavirus. If you ignore them, they'll continue to persist.

Keep in mind that just because we’re thinking something doesn’t always mean it’s true. When you notice yourself worrying a lot, take a step back, and try to let worries pass by without focussing on them too much.

Remind yourself that there's also a chance things will turn out better in the end or that you're going to emerge from this more potent than ever. Try to develop a more realistic middle-ground outlook, rather than a doom and gloom sort of stance, so you can start to feel better.

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