The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has cast a shadow of fear and anxiety over most of the world. The unknowns of this disease in addition to new financial burdens, as well as looming shortages in supplies and resources for the healthcare industry, are continuously broadcasted. And with the technologies of the 21st century, access to this onslaught of information is immediate, continuous, and at times overwhelming. What’s more, new public mandates and health actions—like social distancing and quarantine—have left many in isolation, causing even more distress.
The pandemic has left no shortage of stressors—affecting everyone, but especially those who are already living with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety isn’t something that should be normalized, especially in a pandemic. In this article, we’ll go over the signs of anxiety, its many forms, and ways to manage anxiety during COVID-19.
Understanding Your Anxiety
Everyone feels anxious from time to time, especially in times of great stress. Living in a pandemic definitely qualifies as a stressful situation, so if you’ve noticed that your levels of fear and anxiety are increasing, know that your reaction is understandable. While one of the best things that you can do is acknowledge your emotional state, pigeonholing, discounting, or comparing your feelings of anxiety to others are not. However, recognizing and understanding the stressors of your anxiety is a great way to find coping mechanisms that work for your unique situation. Anxiety typically triggers a fight-or-flight response in individuals, with symptoms that can range from minor to extreme including:
- Excessive worry, fear, and/or feelings of impending doom
- Heart palpitations
- Lack of concentration
- Hypervigilance, irritability, and/or restlessness
- Change in eating habits
In light of the pandemic, social anxiety has escalated tenfold. This anxiety disorder is characterized by having an excessive fear of social situations where an individual could be scrutinized by other people for any number of reasons. During COVID-19, public health actions, while beneficial for physical health, have also been a huge stressor for those with this anxiety disorder. Many with social anxiety are choosing to stay home to avoid social situations where they could be scrutinized for following social distancing and protective guidelines in public or for leaving the house to obtain essentials despite encouraged self quarantine.
How to Manage Your Anxiety
Whether you have an anxiety disorder or not, if you’ve been feeling more anxious during COVID-19, there are many ways that you can try to manage your increased levels of stress. If you do have an anxiety disorder, however, make sure to stock up on any medications that you may take to avoid multiple trips to the pharmacy—risking exposure to COVID-19 and unmanageable feelings of anxiety.
Here are some ways to practice self-care and better manage your feelings of anxiety during COVID-19:
It’s 2020; the majority of us are addicted to our phones. For those with anxiety, the ability to immediately connect to the world is both a good and bad thing during COVID-19. For example, staying glued to your phone could introduce a number of stressors from heightened media attention about current events, but it also offers you the ability to connect with loved ones and friends—helping you avoid feelings of isolation. Taking breaks from the news and planning virtual get-togethers are two ways to benefit from the best of both worlds, allowing you to stay connected without overwhelming yourself.
Focus on What You Can Control
Right now, the unpredictability of the world is enough to make anyone anxious. By focusing on what you can control, however, you can reintroduce feelings of normalcy back into your life. This can be as simple as making a plan for dinner, signing up and scheduling time for a virtual exercise class, and following CDC guidelines for protection during COVID-19. Establishing manageable routines like these into your day will help put you in control over your actions and reactions.
Take Care of Your Mind & Body
Be kind to yourself. No one was prepared for a pandemic and you are doing the best that you can. Taking care of your mind and body is a tried-and-true stress management strategy that can reduce feelings of anxiety during COVID-19. Try prioritizing these self-care techniques:
- Spend time in nature
- Find ways to exercise
- Practice hobbies and activities that you enjoy
- Implement meditation or breathing exercises into your day
- Start journaling, setting daily affirmations, and focusing on positives
- Set time aside for relaxation practices
- Try virtual therapy via telehealth
In addition to exercising, make sure that you are monitoring your health by eating well and sleeping. If you find that you aren’t feeling the best—be it a cold or symptoms of COVID-19—consider an alternative solution to traditional urgent care or emergency services. Having a plan for the unexpected injury or illness during COVID-19 will help cut down on anxieties concerning exposure to the virus and other unpredictable variables.
DispatchHealth Is Here For You
DispatchHealth is one of the few at-home medical care alternatives that specializes in addressing a wide range of minor to complex injuries and illnesses, including COVID-19 testing as well as treatment and support. We can provide medical assistance in the comfort of your own home, allowing you to skip a trip to the nearest ER for health concerns during the pandemic. Requesting care is as easy as contacting us via phone, mobile app, or through our website. Once contacted, our dependable medical teams will arrive at your place of need within a few hours, prepared with most of the equipment and technologies found at an ER. During COVID-19, we’ve made sure to prioritize the safety of both our staff and patients by implementing a number of disinfecting protocols before, during, and after each visit and providing our medical staff with protective equipment.
Learn more about how DispatchHealth is responding to COVID-19 by contacting us today.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: