There are great uncertainties in life that make people more anxious, like the current COVID-19 pandemic. This current world health crisis did not only affect people physically but also mentally.
Anxiety is the normal reaction of a person to any uncertainty that may harm them. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, many are uncertain about the future. People tend to worry about what might happen, creating anxiety.
It is hard to escape the harsh reality that a lot of people are affected by the current pandemic. You are always confronted by information online, television, and text messages. These pieces of information can leave people helpless and anxious.
It is vital to always stay informed, especially about what is going around the community about COVID-19. However, there is a lot of misinformation and sensationalist portrayal of news that only fosters fear. Knowing the facts will help you reduce stress. Therefore, it is important to filter what you watch and read online and on TV.
First, stick to reliable sources, such as the World Health Organization and the local public authorities. Second, limit the amount of information that you take in. Constantly checking for pandemic updates will only fuel anxiety, instead of minimising it.
Third, if you reduce the amount of time that you spend on checking for pandemic updates, you can ask a reliable person about essential and real pandemic updates. Lastly, be careful about what you share online. Avoid spreading rumours that can create unnecessary anxiousness and panic among other people.
Focus on things you can control
The main thing that causes anxiety is not knowing what will happen. There are many things that people cannot control about this pandemic, such as when it will last, how many people will heal, the number of people who will contract the virus, and how people will behave in the community. These things are hard to accept and control.
As long as you focus on the questions that have unknown answers, you will only be anxious, drained, and overwhelmed. You should only pay attention to the things that you can control. Take steps into preventing the spread of the virus, such as:
- Use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitiser that has 70% alcohol content
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay at home, unless necessary
- Avoid gatherings
- Avoid non-essential travels
- Implement physical distancing
- Stay healthy
- Follow instructions from the authorities
There is a strict implementation of physical distancing today. Evidence shows that people can still transmit the virus even if they have no symptoms. Thus, one helpful thing that you can do to help halt the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing.
However, this practice does not mean that you should cut ties with people. Social distancing can have risks because people are naturally social. Loneliness and isolation can only foster anxiety and depression. Thus, it is important to communicate and stay connected with people.
It is essential to stay in touch with family and friends. You can also make use of video calls, instead of physical interactions. Social media is also a powerful tool in staying connected, not only with family and friends but also with the community.
Do not forget to assess how you feel about certain posts on social media. If certain keywords are making you uncomfortable and anxious, mute them. Log out if you still feel uncertain. Do not let COVID-19 dominate every post or conversation. Remembering these will help you manage your anxiety.
Getting tested for COVID-19 can bring anxiety if you are waiting for the result. However, it can bring great relief if the test comes out negative. Getting a test will help you assure yourself and manage your anxiety. You can get a COVID-19 rapid test kit here.
Overcoming reactions to depression, stress, and anxiety is possible. However, some persist for weeks and months and can worsen. If you are experiencing these, then your mental health might be deteriorating. You should already seek professional help.
The physical symptoms include feelings of suffocation, nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, major sleep problems, reduced appetite, exhaustion, and low energy. Emotional symptoms include fear, getting panicked when COVID-19 is the topic of the conversation, negative thoughts, and loss of interest in activities you usually do.
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, contact your local help hotline. Mental health professionals will support you and give you information according to your needs. Do not hesitate to get help if needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not only affect the people physically but also emotionally. Much worse, it has a great effect on people with stress, anxiety, and depression. The uncertainty that the pandemic brings is making the people more anxious. If you are feeling the same, do not forget to follow the things listed above. Your mental health is important.
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Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
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