It may be a new year, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t magically gone away. While the loss caused by this pandemic has been severe, there is another side to it that isn’t getting as much attention: the mental health effects.
Whether you’ve lost your job, you’re struggling with isolation, you haven’t been able to see loved ones, or you’re just worried about the disease itself, it’s not uncommon to feel anxious over COVID-19.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to take over your life.
Let’s look at ten proactive strategies you can use each day to manage the anxiety triggered by this pandemic.
1. Limit Your Media Intake
Between social media at your fingertips and the news on television, it’s easy to feel overloaded with information about COVID-19. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to know which information is accurate. Some of it might be biased, while some might be fabricated entirely.
While it’s crucial to stay informed, don’t let yourself get sucked in by the media every day. Take frequent breaks, and limit yourself from how much of it you truly absorb.
2. Take Action
Anxiety often becomes worse when you don’t do anything to challenge it. Your thoughts might start turning, pushing you to the worst possible scenarios. Instead of letting those thoughts take over, stand up. Fight back against them. Prove them wrong. By recognizing those thoughts when they come (and they will come), it will better equip you to fight back.
3. Be Realistic
It’s easy to let the media influence your thoughts on how this virus is genuinely impacting the world. Do your research. Learn what you can about the infection rate, who is most susceptible, etc.
While it doesn’t take away from the virus’s seriousness, knowing some of those statistics can help you feel more confident and less fearful.
4. Don’t Assume You Have the Virus
There are still other common health issues people are experiencing every day. If you cough, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. If you’re feeling fatigued, it doesn’t mean you have it, either. You might have a cold, the flu, or maybe your seasonal allergies are acting up.
Try not to make assumptions about your symptoms unless they become severe. Take care of yourself and do what you can to stay healthy while understanding that there are many other reasons why you could be having mild symptoms.
5. Enjoy the Simple Things
While you may not be able to control what happens with this virus or how the world responds, you can control what you do in your own life.
Now is the perfect time to enjoy the simple things. Be productive and find something every day that you like to do. Start a new project. Not only can this kind of attitude help as a distraction, but it can make you see that things aren’t as bleak as they might seem.
6. Reduce Your Stress
Eliminating stress might be easier said than done. But, finding ways to reduce your stress levels can help to calm your anxiety. Find time each day for meditation, mindfulness, or any other type of self-care that gives you a few moments of relaxation. You might be surprised that just a few minutes of tranquility can help you through your day.
7. Listen to Reliable Sources
Instead of getting your information from news stations, friends, or random online news, go to the most reliable sources for COVID-19 information. The most accurate and honest information will come from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC updates its information as needed, and they are a trustworthy source with plenty of data about the virus.
8. Keep Things as “Normal” as Possible
It might feel as though nothing is normal right now. So, it’s essential to find little things each day that gives you a sense of familiarity. Taking a walk around your neighborhood, driving in your car, or playing a game with your family can all give you that normalcy we’re all craving.
While many states still have mask mandates and social distancing orders, you can still spend time with those in your house and get outside as often as possible. Find moments of “normal” each day to keep your anxieties at bay.
9. Be Kind
None of us know what others are going through or have gone through because of this pandemic. It’s crucial to be kind and compassionate. That’s not always easy when it feels like you’re always on edge or worried.
But, make a point to be kind to yourself and compassionate with others. We’re all going through this together.
10. Get Help When You Need It
There is no shame in struggling with anxiety because of COVID-19. You’re certainly not alone. But, if that anxiety is starting to become too much to handle, you may benefit from seeking professional help.
Talking to a mental health professional can make a big difference in how you feel and manage your anxiety.
This pandemic won’t last forever. But, you don’t need to sacrifice your mental health as it continues. Keep these strategies in mind as you go through each day. If you’re still struggling, feel free to contact us for support — We’re here to help.