Do you know that feeling where you are overwhelmed? Anxiousness clouds you and you are worried beyond usual? Maybe that is anxiety. Here is a quiz to know if you are suffering from anxiety. And now with the pandemic and the fear of the third wave, are you more scared about your daily situation? Well, social media and the news won’t help. But here is a guide that can help you power through. 

To understand more about the correlation between COVID-19 and anxiety, TC46 connected with Dr Hirak Patel, Counselling Psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. Here she explains in detail what covid anxiety is, and how you can overcome it. 

1. Covid anxiety affects the daily functioning of an individual

The pandemic has brought in sudden and drastic changes in everyone’s life. Everyone has been in some way or the other affected by the pandemic. It has brought a lot of physical, mental, financial and many other worries and distress. A person can feel anxious due to several reasons, however, COVID has added a layer into it. Anxiety can affect an individual either physically or mentally or both as people are extremely worried about the scenario. It can also interfere with the daily functioning of the individual, people are inclining towards having negative thoughts or perceptions towards things happening around them. As this is a situation that is ongoing and people are facing it for more than a year now, the anxiety may increase causing more distress. Dealing through new challenges, anxiety about self and others around all this affects an individual on a daily basis. 

2. To feel this anxious about the current and future state is normal

It is normal for people to feel certain emotions and feelings in a particular situation. For example, when we talk about feelings of sadness or grief, when there is the loss of a loved one, similarly, feeling anxious during this pandemic is very normal. For many people, the uncertainty surrounding COVID is the hardest thing to handle. Yes, there is anxiety about the future, and thoughts or questions as to how long it will continue, how it will impact us or how bad things can turn. The situation is such that it creates anxiety and fear among people.

3. There are more cases of anxiety and depression than usual 

Anxiety can arise due to several reasons. Ongoing stress in the workplace or home can create difficulty and can also lead to an anxiety attack. The attack can be due to COVID, as currently there is a lot of anxiety and stress surrounding the situation. People are worried and concerned about the loss of loved ones or physical, mental concerns like financial instability and all these can lead to depression. Persistent exposure to negative things like fear and feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and several changes and challenges one has to face can develop anxiety. All these factors lead to more anxiety and depression than usual.

4. Children being affected by Covid anxiety

COVID has affected everyone across all age groups. When we specifically talk about children, there have been a lot of changes in their lives also creating anxiety and distress. Adjusting to the change and accepting the scenario is difficult. Dealing with online classes, social withdrawal, feeling overwhelmed, trying to understand how to adjust to the current scenario creates anxiety among the children. Also, depending on the age of the child and how much they are aware of the situation, they can try to analyze and get a better understanding of the situation.

5. Be mindful of social media and limit its consumption

It becomes difficult to answer or get clarity about certain questions like when will this pandemic end? Or what needs to be done to get rid of this? What is happening around us? To respond to this, most of us tend to search on the internet or social media platforms, watch the news and understand things accordingly. Yes, we must be aware of the pandemic and the information through news or social media, however, there is another side to it as well. Several misconceptions about the pandemic and rumours are spreading around. This becomes difficult to distinguish from the truth for the common man, thus creating more fear and anxiety. It’s important to be careful of what you read and watch. Certain ways to work through this can be limiting how often you check the updates, avoiding watching or discussing the negative news for most time in a day, trying and avoiding discussing sensitive topics in front of children, and sticking to trustworthy sources. It is important to understand where you need to stop when it becomes more overwhelming. It should be used as a resource to gain updates and ideas, not something that makes you feel more anxious. One needs to understand how much of the information one needs to hold on to and what needs to be avoided if it is creating anxiety.

6. Stay connected with people through technology

The concept of social distancing has cropped up with the start of this pandemic, which needs to be followed for one’s safety. As we say humans are social animals, following the practice of social distancing becomes difficult. Being isolated physically also comes with feelings of loneliness which can increase anxiety, depression, and impact one’s physical health. However, one should keep in mind that even though we need to follow physical distance, one doesn’t need to detach themselves emotionally from others. We can still be connected with people around us, by staying in touch using different mediums. People can make use of technology for this purpose like making regular phone calls, video calls, keeping check of people around through talking on the phone, providing support as much as possible within your reach. Using technology in different ways like writing emails or using social media platforms wisely is the right step ahead.

7. Divert your mind to focus on things you can control rather than the opposite

Accepting that the scenario is not totally under an individual’s control even though the person wishes to. Thus, wanting to change those things which are beyond control, and then not being able to do so, creates distress and a feeling of anxiousness. Instead, the focus should be on the things that are within an individual’s control and start working on the same. Even though you are stuck at home and not being able to go out, try and have a routine for yourself at home, keep yourself involved in things, make schedules, and work towards it. This will help you maintain a sense of regularity and routine. Do things that you enjoy. Whenever you feel that you are caught up with fear as to what will happen, remind yourself about what you can do and what is in your control. You can control certain things like washing hands, maintaining social distance. Though the pandemic has affected mobility and other domains, people can try and focus on what can be still done like learning some new skill or spending time on things that they always wanted to. By engaging oneself in something or the other helps to divert your mind.

8. Tips to take care of your mind and body

Taking care of oneself both physically and mentally has become very important. One needs to take care of their body by wearing a mask properly whenever going out, washing hands at regular intervals, sanitizing their hands, taking vaccination and other precautionary measures as provided by doctors. When we talk about mental health there is fear, there is anxiety, and there is frustration and irritability. As more negative things surround individuals, one needs to be focused on their mental health also. You are not alone in this struggle, be kind towards yourself. Staying active will help to reduce anxiety levels and manage the stress that one is undergoing. By doing meditation, yoga, relaxation, exercise while staying home helps both physically and mentally. Here are a few yoga poses that can help you combat anxiety attacks. Talk to people around you and don’t keep things bottled up, involve yourself in activities that you enjoy taking the precautions into consideration. Whenever you feel the presence of negative thoughts, indulge in positive self-talk, use positive affirmations, and have a sense of gratitude towards what you have. Watch this video for 5 quick ways to indulge in self-love!

9. Signs that you need to seek help

At times, dealing with anxiety can become overwhelming and difficult. There can be challenges faced on a daily basis that becomes difficult for an individual to handle alone. When one feels the need, one should seek professional help from an expert in the field to develop better-coping skills and learn several strategies.

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