We wear a mask, sanitize and maintain social distance to stay away from covid, but what about anxiety and panic due to covid. During the pandemic just going for regular grocery shopping can be mentally draining. Wearing a mask, not touching any surface, social distancing and once you reach the home- shower, clean & washing the vegetables the list is quite exhausting. It is taking a toll on our mental health.
And just after all this if you feel a little itch in your throat or dry cough, then we start thinking backwards, did I touch the elevator, or was I too close to the shopkeeper during billing?
There is no way we are escaping COVID-related anxiety, unfortunately, many do not even recognize it as anxiety and continue to live in this fear of contracting COVID.
What is anxiety?
Before COVID, we all experienced occasional anxiety. Like little nervousness feeling before an interview or worrying when kids didn’t pick our calls. But it was just a passing feeling which never interfered with our quality of life. But today we are almost living with anxiety.
Constant worry, stress, fear of contracting the virus is something we have been living with since last year. Now the new addition is, will I get a bed with oxygen? Will medicine supply be an issue? What if I need ICU and it is not available?
The worst-case scenario imaginations seem to be on the rise when we are anxious. Most of the time we can’t stop thinking about the before-mentioned issues and to divert our mind we quickly check on our favourite pass time, smartphone. And there you go, a vicious cycle of COVID-related anxiety is back all over again.
What can we do?
Anyone using social media or watching television news will not be able to escape this anxiety. And if you wish to stay away from social media, the WhatsApp group does the required damage. Society, family, office, school, or college WhatsApp groups are filled with COVID-related forwards. Symptoms to cure everything is available in our WhatsApp groups, needless to mentions it only adds to our fear of losing our battle to COVID. While in reality, you are safe at home, never contracted COVID, or recovered from COVID.
No doubt, many have lost their lives to COVID, but so many have recovered too. Just last week I read about a newborn recovered from COVID in Odisha, which does mean there is hope and we need to find every ounce of our strength to be hopeful.
The question is can we get detached from social media and everything around us. Definitely, no that’s not an option in today’s day and age. The only option left with us is to deal with our anxiety healthily. Before that, we need to accept that we are dealing with anxiety and not a COVID symptom. There are a lot of people who feel anxious, have trouble breathing, and immediately call their family doctor to check if it’s a symptom of COVID.
If you are someone secretly struggling with COVID anxiety here are few things you can do to manage your anxiety better.
- Have slots during the day to check your social media, remove all notifications, and only check or reply to your messages during the fixed slot.
- Do not check your phone or social media two hours before bedtime.
- Follow a daily routine, follow it for at least five days a week.
- While you speak to friends and family, do tell them in advance that you do not wish to talk about Covid or anything which is disturbing you.
- Read the news, on your favourite portals instead of watching it. Visuals have a high impact on our minds than words.
- If possible stay away from people who are forever negative.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Sleep, rest, eat nutritious food, spend time in sunlight and follow all covid related precautions.
- And when you feel anxious about anything, do deep breathing for few minutes.
- Write down at least one positive affirmation every morning and read through it during the day.
Lastly, let us remember we cannot ignore being anxious, but we can deal with anxiety healthily. It is what it is, we need to accept the situation we are in currently and work on finding solutions for each one of us.
Stay home and stay safe.
Well-being Coach and HR professional.