Do you need a mask or not? Are vaccines or boosters mandated? What economic help is still available? Can you go to school or work in person? From state to state and city to city, it seems everyone is at odds these days.
Behind all these official pronouncements, you have a simmering volcano of opinions and emotions. The conflict is real and, for too many, battle lines have been drawn.
The biggest challenge involves finding ways to navigate this minefield with your mental health intact. You can’t control what COVID constraints are put in place. But you can temper your reactions either way.
An Epidemic of Mental Health Problems
Four times as many adults are reporting mental health symptoms now than in 2019. These symptoms are often signs of depression or anxiety disorders. This drastic increase coincides with another drastic increase. A rise in mental health issues results in more people leaning on unhealthy coping mechanisms. These may include:
- Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, etc.)
- Disordered eating
- Isolation and withdrawal
- Fixating on the internet, video games, social media, etc.
- Relentless worrying and hyper-vigilance
It’s easy to understand how anyone can fall back on such choices over the past 18 months or so. But it’s essential to reverse that trend. Let’s explore some positive options available to you as the COVID melodrama enters yet another phase.
4 Ways to Deal with Your COVID-Related Dread & Worry
1. Practice Distancing From Your Devices
Both mainstream media and social media are designed to hold your attention. This happens the most when they have you in an emotional state. There is no peace to be found in scrolling through the latest clickbait articles. So, give yourself a break. Power down your devices for a certain amount of time throughout the day. Give your mind a rest and watch some of that worry melt away.
2. Resist the Urge to Over-React
Not every cough spells danger. Stop searching the web to diagnose yourself. The odds are against you getting infected. Even if you do, the odds are against it being serious. This, of course, isn’t permission to be reckless. It’s a reminder that anxiety is a convincing liar. Shut it down as quickly as possible and move forward with the appropriate amount of care.
3. Cultivate Some Relaxation Techniques
Find ways to create balance. There are many, many options available to you. Try them out. See what works best and stick with it. Common tactics for stress management include the following:
- Breathing exercises
- Tai chi
- Relaxing music
- Getting out into nature when possible
- Physical activity
4. Avoid Isolation
Stay connected — in person or virtually. Seek out and spend time with people who care about you. Take care to find those who also wish to focus on cultivating some positive energy. Try not to rehash the latest headlines together. Instead, talk about future plans. Share personal stories. Offer practical, productive help. There is no replacement for such personal interaction in a time of dread or uncertainty.
Mental Health Problems Are Better Resolved with the Help of a Mental Health Professional
Any or all of the above suggestions could go a long way in easing your dread. However, to achieve long-term, sustainable relief, you might be best served by a commitment to therapy. Even in this confusing time, you can maintain a counseling schedule via video chat if necessary. Regardless, it’s an excellent way to explore your emotions and seek out underlying causes.
Working together with a skilled therapist is a proven path to a reduction of dread and worry. You have a weekly workshop to practice new perceptions and new approaches. All it takes to get started is a phone call. Please read more about anxiety treatment. Let’s connect for a confidential consultation. The path to healing and recovery awaits.