How to Manage Anxiety around Contracting COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia and NZ continues to climb, fear, anxiety and dread about contracting or transmitting the virus is taking a toll on people’s emotions. While some anxiety is expected and even beneficial in that it reminds us to be cautious and take measures, it can be counterproductive if these feelings become overwhelming.
Here are some ways to manage your anxiety:
Validate your feelings
Accept your emotions and then let them go. Given the circumstances, confusion, anxiety, dread, and worry are all appropriate feelings, as are rage, frustration, and a sense of powerlessness. Learning to sit with and acknowledge tough emotions without having to respond to them is one way to deal with them. Another option is to try to communicate how you’re feeling and express your thoughts, this can help the emotions pass.
Try to see things clearly
Anxiety around contracting COVID-19 might make it difficult for you to think clearly and see things plainly. We may unintentionally become locked in a routine of worry, and when our anxiety feels out of control, we feel much worse. Check in with your thoughts and determine whether the way you’re thinking about the situation is beneficial or not. Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, choose to focus on what you can. Diet, sleep, exercise, and remaining socially connected in a safe way are all important factors to consider.
Limit media intake
it’s difficult not to get caught up in the daily headlines and number of new cases but overconsumption of COVID-19-related material has been linked to increased anxiety. Set a limit on how much news you watch or read and unfollow profiles that make you feel triggered.
Be kind to yourself
Instead of blaming or criticising yourself, acknowledge that it’s normal to be worried about COVID-19. This strategy is known as ‘self-validation.’ Self-validation is a vital element for dealing with challenging situations, but it is a learned skill. At least once a day, do or say something self-validating, such as: ‘It’s acceptable that I’m furious about the pandemic. I’ll be able to better regulate my emotions if I take some time to myself.’
Calm your emotions
Everyone, especially during these trying times, will experience negative emotions from time to time. Controlled breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation exercises are all effective ways to help quiet these emotions. The more you use them, the more effective they become.
It’s a delicate balance to strike as we weigh the risk of catching COVID-19 against our desire to see family and friends. Continue to take the required measures, such as wearing masks, getting vaccinated and practicing good hand hygiene. If you have a medical condition or are more susceptible to COVID-19 for other reasons, you should seek advice from your doctor.
As discussed, it’s natural to experience anxiety at times but if it’s becoming excessive or interfering with your life, you may need to seek professional help. If you’re not sure where to begin, talk to your doctor or give us a call. Our team of psychologists would be happy to talk things over with you and offer helpful and calming techniques to relieve any stress or anxiety that is weighing you down.
If you would like further help and support, please give our friendly team a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) or 0800 327 477 (NZ). Alternatively click here to book an appointment. We have therapy sessions available from the very next day, as well as weekend, early morning and evening appointments to suit your busy lifestyle.