New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful no matter what aspect you're looking at: overrun ICUs, permanent WFH situations, wearing a mask wherever you go. But even though we're hopefully nearing the end (thank you, science, for multiple safe vaccines), you've likely still got some lingering anxiety regarding *gestures* all of this.
Fears about COVID-19 can take an emotional toll, especially if you’re already living with an anxiety disorder. But you’re not powerless. These tips can help you get through this stressful time
1. Stay informed — but don’t obsessively check the news
It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening in your community, so you can follow advised safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. But there’s a lot of misinformation going around, as well as sensationalist coverage that only feeds into fear. It’s important to be discerning about what you read and watch.
2. Stay connected even when physically isolated
Evidence shows that many people with coronavirus — particularly young, seemingly healthy people — don’t have symptoms but can still spread the virus. That’s why the biggest thing that most people can do right now to make a positive difference is to practice social distancing. But social distancing comes with its own risks. Humans are social animals. We’re hardwired for connection. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and depression, and even impact our physical health. That’s why it’s important to stay connected as best we can and reach out for support when we need it, even as we cut back on in-person socialising.
3. Routine is your friend
It helps to manage anxiety, and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.
4. Write down your thoughts
Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
5. Practice focussed, deep breathing
Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down. The 4-7-8 technique is also known to help anxiety.
6. Do a daily or routine meditation
While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.
Stay safe and stay home.