The last post I published on anxiety was almost two years ago, when the pandemic was beginning to escalate. Two years later we’re in a weird stage. We’re still *technically* in a pandemic, but we’re being told we’re nearing the end. It has disappeared from front page news. It’s a guessing game of what the future holds. What tomorrow holds. What next month holds. What next year holds. The rules and recommendations of safety have drastically shifted and evolved overtime. Some people are wearing masks, others are not. While some are disregarding all safety precautions and living like it is 2019, others are still wound up in a ball of anxiety anticipating the next stage of the pandemic. For us anxious babes – the uncertainty is pure torture. Anxiety often boils down to the feeling of lack of control in our life. So how do we keep our anxiety in check two years into the COVID pandemic? I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me work through anxiety regarding the pandemic. Enjoy!
Don’t Let The Pandemic Consume You
There are days when it’s easy to feel defeated by the pandemic. The ongoing cases rising and falling and rising and falling seems like a circle that will never end. Personally, I’ve had to limit the amount of time consuming media/information on the pandemic. There was a time I would Google the number of new cases daily in my city. No number was ever small enough to make me feel any better. Because the number was never 0. Filter the information you take in. Or better yet, tell someone you trust to update you on any important updates and release yourself from constantly checking in. It can be draining and elevate levels of anxiety – whether you may be aware of it or not.
Journal Your Feelings (In 5 Minutes Or Less)
If you’re not a writer – journaling can seem like a chore. However, taking 5 minutes (or less) a day can still release feelings of anxiety. Writing down 1-2 sentences of how you’re feeling and what is triggering this feeling can help ground you. Plus, it is great to keep track of your anxiety levels throughout the month.
Invest In Massages
Two weeks ago I got a massage for the first time in ages. I forgot how well my body responds to massages. Like many, anxiety will tense my muscles. It happens so slowly I don’t recognize it at the moment. But after days and weeks of tense muscles, it can be draining on my body. Your body will become accustomed to pain and stress. Relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety with a massage. If you can’t afford a professional massage (or feel unsafe to do so) ask a loved one. Whether it’s your mom, your boyfriend or a friend – ask them to give you a massage.
Create Boundaries Around Your Feelings
To some people, contracting COVID is the last thing on their list of worries. To others, it is #1 on the list. Having anxiety around contracting COVID two years later is very valid. Just because some people are ‘over it’ doesn’t mean you have to be. We all heal and experience traumas differently. Plus, we’re still in a pandemic. If you have people in your life who are minimizing or disregarding your feelings of fear of the pandemic, cut them out. If you can’t cut them out – write a text or email explaining your feelings. If they still don’t respect your feelings, you have every right to set boundaries regarding the amount of time and energy to invest into that relationship. Gravitate towards people who validate your feelings (even if they don’t feel the same).
Be As Safety Cautious As You Want
If avoiding crowded places and carrying around 2 bottles of hand sanitizer is your thing – let it be your thing. If it makes you feel safer, it’s worth it. As long as it’s not interfering with your daily life (skipping work etc.) be as safety cautious as you like. Don’t let other people make you feel ridiculous or small. Your fears are valid.
Feel The Feels
Some days it’s just all too much. The end of the pandemic is unknown. The status of COVID years to come is unknown. And sometimes it’s just all too much. Let yourself feel the feels. Take an hour, a day, a week, however long you need and grieve. Our lives will forever be changed from this pandemic. Instead of pushing feelings away or numbing them with substances like alcohol or drugs – allow yourself to feel, to cry, to be angry, to be scared. Get it out. The worst thing you can do is bottle it all up. Brighter days are coming, promise.
Celebrate The Small Wins
If you’re constantly feeling like an anxious mess – be sure to celebrate the small wins. Getting together with friends. A roadtrip within your own city. Praise from your boss. A weekend free of anxious thoughts. Write them down in a journal. Try to recognize the good in your life.
Remind Yourself You’ve Made It This Far
On days when I’m feeling anxious about next steps within the pandemic I remind myself I’ve made it this far. And I’m okay. A little shaken up, yes, but still alive and well. Learning to trust yourself in a crisis is major for those with anxiety. Realizing the steps you’ve been taking this far have kept you safe gives you the confidence to continue moving forward.
Accept You’ve Been Changed
This pandemic has changed you. It has changed us all. For the better, for the worse. It all depends on your perspective. Write down a list of GOOD things that have come from this pandemic. Maybe it allowed you to work from home and spend more time with your hubby. Maybe it forced you to focus on your health and get fit. Maybe you met a new friend who adds to your life. Or maybe you’re like me and found the love of your life (along with the most precious dog) which has made all the anxiety, all the fear, worth it.