Within two hours, I had noticed there were 8 points of contact in my day that warned and informed me about the coronavirus. From emails, texts, real life conversations and shopping for regular household items, my world had suddenly been overwhelmed with information about the virus. On one hand, I’m thankful for the access to information so that I can keep my family and myself safe. On the other hand, I noticed that in just two hours I went from feeling positive and productive to being frustrated with low energy.
The truth is that the majority of people experience some level of anxiety, because anxiety keeps us alert and alive. The problem comes in when those who regularly experience moderate to severe levels are hit with this pandemic that threatens their environment.
Anxiety itself is characterized by
- Excessive worry
- Difficulty concentrating and controlling the worry
- Feeling on edge, restless or tense
- Difficulty sleeping
When you feel like your world has been threatened and abruptly interrupted, a lot of these responses are normal as you try to adjust to the changes that are happening around you. If you experienced anxiety symptoms before the coronavirus outbreak, it’s best to recognize that you are more likely to experience an increased level of anxiety during this time.
Step 1. Be aware when your anxiety is calling the shots. There’s a difference between being cautious and being fearful. Caution allows you to make decisions from a place of clarity and security. When feeling anxious your decision making may feel more overwhelmed and frantic. Notice what behaviors you might be doing out of anxiety vs being cautious and prepared.
Step 2. Challenge what sounds like truth. Anxiety is good at convincing you of something based off of fear and excessive worry. During this time, hundreds of worst case scenario stories may have run through your mind that you didn’t even realize! Anxiety waters all of this down into a fluid statement of truth such as, If I go on my spring break trip I’m going to get coronavirus and die. That is not a fact! Challenge this from a cautious and well informed mind.
Step 3. Remember that anxiety hates uncertainty. We want to know how this is all going to turn out. We want to know what’s going to be the right decision for our families. No matter how much media you absorb, it’s not going to tell you the right answer on what you should do. Everyone’s health situation is unique so consult your doctors who know that best. Monitor what information you are taking in and why. (remember step 1)
Having an outside voice to challenge anxiety is extremely helpful when our environment becomes chaotic. Seek guidance and support from someone that you trust that can help with grounding your anxiety instead of escalating it.
For more information on anxiety or to get help with managing your anxiety during this time, contact Contact Catalyst Counseling Group (hyperlink to https://catalystcounselinggroup.com/counseling-for-anxiety/)