The measures taken by various governments around the world to curb the spread of COVID-19 are drastic but needed.
In an instant, our world has changed, and many are worried and anxious about the future.
So many thoughts race through our minds, and fear becomes an enemy that we have to face regularly.
These are uncertain times we are in, and we need to understand the place of anxiety in human society.
Anxiety is a part of our survival instinct that acts as our internal alarm against danger.
It’s our brain’s way of telling us to take defensive measures before an imminent threat turns real.
The threats of our modern society have changed compared to what our early ancestors faced, but our brain’s wiring regarding anxiety hasn’t changed much.
It’s no surprise that many people feel moody, agitated, irritable, and lethargic ever since the pandemic hit the fan.
Being in this state of constant angst can take its toll on our bodies. Fatigue can set in, the mind becomes clouded, and unruly behavior can rise to the surface.
Nobody is immune to anxiety as we face this global crisis, but we can choose to cope with the stress and worry in healthy ways.
We share some tips from a licensed family therapist, Erika Boissiere, published in Forbes Magazine.
Control What You Read and Watch
Anxious people crave for more information in the hope that we may read or watch something that can take away our fears.
Staying informed is essential during emergencies like this COVID-19 pandemic, but our brains can only handle so much until it overloads.
Too much information can lead to more anxiety, take a break, and only read and listen to trusted news sources.
Power down your tablet, smartphone, TV, and laptop. Allow yourself to process the information and relax at the same time.
Control What You Can, Let Go Of What You Can’t
The usual response of the anxious person is to gain control of the situation. During this COVID-19 situation, we take control by stocking up on supplies, washing our hands, and disinfecting our homes.
Taking the needed precautions is the wise thing to do, but when anxiety lasts over a certain period, we can slip into mindless behavior without realizing it.
Panic buying is a sign of irrational behavior, and it can only ignite the internal angst in the long term.
Hoarding on supplies deprives others of the resources they need.
If you feel like you are going to run out of food, plan your meals for the week and make a list of the things you need as part of your inventory in your kitchen.
Buying more than what you need should be avoided because the supplies may only go to waste.
Use Breathing Exercises to Stop Anxiety Attacks
As days go by and the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, many people find themselves more anxious as ever.
If you start thinking about worst-case scenarios, panic may begin to consume you.
Breathing is a powerful calming tool that you can use to fight anxiety attacks. You may not be able to control the situation in your community, but you can manage your breathing.
Take deep and slow breaths, inhale from your nose, and count from 1 to 3, then exhale through your mouth at the count of 4.
Declare that You are Ok and things will get better.
Stop the Urge to Flee
Anxiety can manifest in different ways, depending on the person. Some may experience a surge of physical energy, which makes you want to flee from your situation.
If you feel a strong urge to take flight, take a while to gather your thoughts for a moment.
List down the pros and cons of relocating, Can you afford it? Will you be safer there? Will you put others at risk? Are you risking your job? Is there access to medical care if you need it?
Once you weigh everything, your mind will clear up and see things the way you should and not from a place of fear.
Continue Being Productive
While some people respond to anxiety by “doing something,” others have the opposite response. These types of people find it hard to concentrate, their mental and physical condition spirals downward, and productivity grounds to a halt.
These reactions are typical when you are nervous, being counterproductive can cause even more anxiety.
To fight this, you should reserve a time for vital “things to do.” Make a list of the top tasks you need to accomplish within the day and take care of those at once.
If you fail to get to the other stuff, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. This pandemic has changed everything, and many of us are still trying to adjust to the situation.