As we enter the two-year mark of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is normal to feel frustrated and anxious. We have been dealing with the ‘abnormal’ for so long that it feels never-ending. When will things get back to normal? Will they ever be truly the same again? How can I leave the house and feel safe? When will I stop feeling so anxious?
These are all questions that might be flooding your brain. As restrictions begin to lift in many places, the truth remains that the risk of getting sick is still very much there. So, how do you combat pandemic anxiety so that you can find happiness and fulfillment in your everyday life?
At Move Forward, we understand how difficult this time has been and we want to help you feel better so that you can again find peace and comfort. Our counselors and therapists work with clients from around the state of Pennsylvania through our online and telehealth platforms.
Here are some tips for coping with pandemic anxiety:
1.) Practice Staying Present
A lot of anxiety stems from worrying about the past or the future — what if my child is exposed at school? What if I catch Covid-19 from my neighbor? What will happen if I get long Covid? While these are all valid concerns and feelings, there can be a lot of benefits to channeling all that anxious energy into the present moment. What is currently happening around you? Embrace the moments that are happening as they are happening. Are you currently sick? Are you currently safe? Is your family well? Being mindful and present in the moment can be a great tool to help overcome stress and anxiety. Counselors at Move Forward can help to teach you techniques for staying present.
2.) Set Aside Worry Time
It is completely normal to have anxiety over what is yet to come. But, rather than worry about the future all the time, give yourself a time limit. Set a 15-minute timer and allow yourself to let your worries run wild. You can use this time to journal your thoughts or just to run through them and let yourself feel all the feelings. When the timer goes off, tell yourself you are done worrying. You had your time, now it is time to move forward.
3.) Embrace Gratitude
What are you thankful for during these past couple of years? What have you gained from these experiences? What has been special about this time? You might celebrate the fact that you have had more family time to play games or work on house projects. You might relish the fact that your children have learned how to be resilient in the face of change. You might be grateful that you are now healthy. However small or big, find something to be thankful for. Writing it down in a gratitude journal can be a great way to dial in on the small victories.
4.) Engage in Relaxation Techniques
If you are reading this post you are probably acutely aware of how anxiety can take over your life. It can make it hard to focus on much else. If you feel anxious, dial in on some relaxation techniques. You can use box breathing where you count in for four breaths, hold for four, out for four, stay empty for four, and repeat. You can practice meditating and shutting your brain out, aromatherapy, or even massage.
5.) Move Each Day
Movement is a great anxiety reducer. Elevating your heart rate (in a healthy way) can help to release feel-good hormones. Get some fresh air whenever you are able. Soak up the vitamin D. Do some yoga, go for a walk, take a fun dance class. It is good for your body and your mind.
6.) Recognize When You are Overwhelmed and Shut it Down
Does watching the news make you feel anxious? Are there certain friends that are hard to be around? Are there conversation topics you want to make off-limits because they stress you out? Check-in with yourself. If it doesn’t make you feel good, shut it down. Turn off the TV, leave the conversation, cut off the friend, whatever it takes to find your calm, do it. Now, more than ever, you need to care for yourself. Part of caring for yourself is cutting out toxicity.
These are just a few of many tips that can help you to cope with anxious feelings throughout these changing times. If you are struggling, there is help available. Meeting with a counselor or therapist can help you gain the tools you need to find a healthy balance and feel your best.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have openings. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant. Get started to feeling better today. You can get the tailored help you need right now. We are here for you.