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It is October of 2022, and the COVID-19 pandemic is considerably less a part of everyday life than it was at the beginning of 2020. Thanks to vaccines and increased knowledge, fewer people are ill. Life has been able to return to somewhat normal. Businesses have re-opened and many schools have returned to in-person learning. While there is excitement and relief surrounding the return to “normal” life as it was before, you might be understandably hesitant to embark on what is being considered the new normal. Perhaps you are afraid to attend large social gatherings and feel an intense fear of getting sick. If this is your situation, you are not alone. There are ways you can find relief.
Understanding COVID-19 Related Fear
You may feel a lot of pressure to get over your fears regarding the pandemic. People close to you may tell you that, by this point, it is time to get over it and move on. Although, when it comes to anxiety of any kind, it is not something that you can simply snap out of. There are a lot of reasons why you may still be anxious about COVID-19.
Of course, you could be worried about getting sick yourself, but you also might have fears of passing the illness on to a loved one. You may have a friend or family member who is vulnerable due to age or current or past health complications. Additionally, you may have a baby at home who is still building up their immune system. There is also the possibility that you experienced the loss of a loved one as a result of COVID-19 and are still healing from that trauma. Whatever the reason for your anxiety is, it is valid, and there should be no shame associated with feeling that way.
Learning to Limit Media Consumption
Over the past several years, there has been a plethora of news and media coverage surrounding COVID-19. While it is discussed in the news these days far less than it was in 2020, it is still a heavily covered subject. The rules, regulations, and details surrounding the virus have changed many times throughout the years. At times, it can feel difficult to keep up. You may want to follow the rules and do right by yourself and those around you.
Yet, this can lead to a sense of pressure that can become overwhelming. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that as long as you are doing all that is rationally possible to remain diligent, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Additionally, while it is important to remain in the know, there are times when it is okay to take a break from the media coverage regarding the pandemic. Oftentimes, reading about the pandemic, listening to the news, or discussing it on social media can make your anxiety worse. In those situations, it is okay to turn off the television and walk away.
If you still wish to tune in to a news program, focus on news that is more positive and lighthearted. There is even a selection of news programs and radio shows that only cover good news. Focusing on positive news stories can help combat anxiety and remind you that there is still good in the world to enjoy if you know where to look for it.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
One of the best ways to combat excessive worrying is by taking care of your mental health. A big part of this is practicing self-care. While self-care looks different from person to person, it always involves doing whatever is necessary to maintain your overall well-being. Some examples include:
- Taking a break from social media
- Getting outside and spending time in nature
- Taking a walk
- Practicing meditation
- Doing some journaling
- Listening to calming music
- Spending quality time with a friend
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Practicing deep breathing and grounding techniques
Understanding When It Is Time to Seek Help
It is possible that your anxiety related to the pandemic may be more than what you can control on your own, and you may need to seek out some professional help. If your anxiety is causing you to have trouble sleeping at night, taking away your appetite, affecting your ability to keep up with personal or professional obligations, or affecting your quality of life, it may be time for you to reach out to your doctor. They can provide you with medication if necessary and recommend you a good therapist that can help you work through your fears in a positive way.
Thanks to the availability of vaccines and more information having been established, the world is slowly transitioning back to a new normal following the COVID-19 pandemic. While many people may be relieved to go back to their regular activities, some may be hesitant or even anxious about embarking upon this new normal. For many people, the pandemic has been a traumatizing event, and it’s normal to still have anxiety about getting sick or making someone else sick. It can help to limit media consumption, take a break from social media from time to time, and make sure to practice self-care on a regular basis. It’s important to address this anxiety before an individual feels the need to turn to substance use to cope. If you are struggling, our team at The Kimberly Center is here to help. Call (855) 452-3683 to learn more.