The last year has been an anxiety-filled time for many. It’s safe to say that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our personal lives and on the daily functioning of the world at large. Employment, health, and lives have been lost. Activities are suspended or virtual.
The protracted, uncertain nature of the pandemic hasn’t helped, either. The return of normalcy seems to stretch out even further ahead.
If you’ve been experiencing anxiety caused by the pandemic and reasons like these, please know that it’s possible to address it. In fact, it’s not just possible, it’s vital and shouldn’t be ignored.
Pinpoint What’s Causing Your Anxiety
Being best able to deal with anxiety can be made possible by first identifying where your anxiety is coming from. If you’ve been feeling anxious but haven’t taken the time to explore what exactly is causing it, now is the time.
Consider sources of your anxiety. Is it the risk of COVID transmission? Is it financial worries due to job loss? Perhaps you’re concerned about your children’s isolation or distance education. Pinpointing the source or sources is an important step.
It can be tempting to beat ourselves up when we’re struggling with anxiety. You may tell yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling this way. Maybe you’re frustrated because you don’t feel as strong as you want to feel.
But talking negatively to yourself will only make matters worse. Instead, rely upon the proven power of self-compassion. Consider what you would say to an anxious friend during these times? How would you treat them? Giving yourself this same emotional gentleness will go a long way. Encourage yourself and look at your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
There are several frequently recommended coping skills for those with anxiety. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them.
Practicing deep breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques address the physiological symptoms of anxiety you feel. As you learn to relax your body, the signals will get sent to your brain and your emotions will follow.
Exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy nutrition are also key components of basic anxiety management.
Additionally, remember to limit your exposure to news coverage of the pandemic. Too much intake can feed your anxiety.
When we interact with others, our bodies release stress-reducing, mood-boosting hormones. Even introverts need regular social interaction for optimum mental health. You may need to get creative to connect. Phone calls and videochats are great ways to interact with those we’re socially distanced from. Hearing a familiar voice offers reassurance and hope.
If your situation allows it, find a way to meet in person in a socially distanced manner. Meeting outdoors somewhere is a great option.
With all the worries created by the pandemic, having fun can fall by the wayside. But humor and laughter are also proven ways to reduce anxiety. Like relaxation techniques and social connection, they cause our bodies to release helpful hormones.
Find old or new favorites of comedic movies or TV shows. Look for videos of animals playing. Have a tickle fest or play tag or hide or seek with your kids. Surprise someone just to see the happiness on their face. These actions will help you take your mind off your anxiety for a while.
If your anxiety continues to be overwhelming and interrupts your ability to get through the day, counseling is another very effective option. As an experienced therapist, I can help you get to the root of your anxiety. Together, we can create a path forward as you learn ways to manage and control this anxiety. Please know that anxiety does not have to control your life. Call my office today to learn more about therapy sessions.