Re-opening after COVID, managing anxiety

The coronavirus pandemic has caused considerable stress and anxiety around the world. We are now beginning to re-open. While some people think it's safe, others are issuing dire warnings about a second peak.

Every day coronavirus is in the news headlines. Predictions of more people falling ill and more economic disruption can cause fear and anxiety.

While it is important to keep yourself informed, continuous exposure to news media can make you feel as though there is danger everywhere. This is not a useful strategy if you are prone to anxiety. Be especially mindful if you have children listening. There are several things you can do to manage anxiety now and during the reopening phase of the pandemic. Below are a few tips that can help:

Managing anxiety during re-opening

While it seems many people are eager to get out and re-join society, others are feeling unsafe. Not everyone is ready to re-open. If you have underlying health conditions, are in the high-risk age category, or if you are living with others who are high risk, you have legitimate concerns about taking risks.

When it comes to re-opening, above all, rather than listen to other's opinions about what is safe and what is not, allow your own comfort level to guide you.

However, there are steps you can take during this time not only to protect yourself and your loved ones but to come out of this situation stronger and with good mental health.

Understand many others share your concerns

A recent poll of 3100 conducted by WebMD found 26% reported they felt a sense of trauma from the pandemic. Many expressed fears of re-opening, with 25% stating they were afraid to go to the store and 15% were afraid to leave their house. Additionally, the poll revealed 77% of people had not sought counseling to help them with their anxiety.

Just because restaurants and hair salons are re-opening, this does not mean you have to visit these places. As we re-open, if you are concerned, extend your time at home as much as possible, continue to avoid social gatherings and high-risk places. Essentially, continue as you are until you feel safe.

Maintain a positive attitude

If you are continuing to stay home to minimize the risk, focus on the benefits that can come with this situation. Find time for leisure activities that you enjoy such as reading a good book or learning to meditate.

With the extension of your time staying home, you may want to consider doing something productive. If possible, take an online course, learn a second language, or delve into a creative project you have not yet been able to find time for. This is a way you can improve yourself and work towards an improved future.

Attitude is everything, focus on the benefits that come with this unusual situation.

Keep things in perspective

Understand you have a certain amount of control over your risk of exposure.

Focus on prevention, avoid places with a lot of people, avoid eating out or receiving services with close contact, wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, do not touch your face, and stay informed of how to minimize the risk of (COVID-19).

Take care of your body

Take steps to boost your immune system and stay healthy. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Exercise if you can. These practices are good for your immune system and your mental health.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help reduce fear, stress, and anxiety. Focusing on the moment will calm your mind and your body. Practicing slow, deep breathing also helps reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system.

If you feel anxious, practice long slow deep breaths. You can read about the technique here.

You may be in for the long hall, this is okay as long as you support yourself and understand extra self-care may be needed as these are unusual times.

Seek counseling if you feel anxious, depressed, or any other mental health or addiction symptoms.

Many people who are struggling do not seek counseling. This is unfortunate as connecting with a counselor can be enormously comforting. Not only will you receive support from a therapist, but you will also learn coping techniques that will work specifically for you and your situation. There is no need to struggle alone, help is available. At Ayre Counseling, we offer online therapy so you can avoid office visits and receive help from anywhere.


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