Covid-19 is presenting unique stresses and issues to health services and governments around the world. But the virus also affects the lives and stress levels of individuals at all levels of society.
Especially for those who fall sick, are self-isolating, have an underlying medical condition or who worry about family members with these conditions it is highly stressful. It may also cause Covid-19 Anxiety and worries if we have the virus and are infectious.
Getting the news that we must social distance and isolate from family and friends can also be very difficult. Missing holidays, birthdays, social gatherings, weddings and education can also bring added stress.
Now as well, Covid-19 has also brought horrendous stress to so many of us fearful following job losses or the threat of those losses.
Worries about the future of the economy and the nation are common place!
We all react to stress and potential danger differently.
Stress can cause emotional, mental, physical, relational and behavioral symptoms and impacts us all uniquely.
The way we cope with these issues can depend on our personal make up as well as our personal resources to manage self-isolation.
Those who may experience more covid-19 anxiety, worry or stress during this crisis may be those with less financial means, less community means or those without other family members to support with things like shopping, toiletries and other essentials.
Likewise, those who already experience worries, or anxiety may find these circumstances trying.
Some common reactions to stressful situations we can’t control include:
• Excessive fear or time spent worrying about our own health status or that of loved ones.
. Extreme worry about our future, job losses and economic security.
• Increased sense of agitation, being on edge, feeling butterflies in stomach, shortness of breath, quickened pulse, feeling more emotional than usual.
• Difficulty relaxing, going/staying asleep, increased or decreased appetite, difficulty concentrating and increased use of or reliance on alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
• Loss of motivation, decreased sense of hope, feeling loss of control, feeling like a failure.
• Increase in stress/anxiety relieving behaviours like checking in on people, checking the news, researching Covid-19, excessive cleaning, pacing.
While the above list is not exhaustive it is a flavour of some of the symptoms that could arise. However, some of our activities to support ourselves can in the short term make us feel like we are coping but can make our worries worse.
How to take care of ourselves:
Some things that we can do to take care of our mental health and covid-19 anxiety during this crisis include:
• Take time to relax either with music, meditation, deep breathing, stretching and exercise. Keep the diet well balanced if possible, as excessive unhealthy food while self-isolating may increase the sense of being out of control/not feeling well.
• Remember that feelings are not facts. Our sense of panic can be controlled by cutting down on the amount of time we spend worrying about this. Keep stimulated with other things, read those books that have been put off since Christmas, start that new series.
• Like the above, if worry is an issue then avoid excessive online and social media activity and searching for news about Covid-19. It is good to stay informed but there comes a point when excessive media exposure increases a sense of panic. Yes, this situation is unprecedented in a generation, though also our immersion in media in 2020 is unprecedented. In time the news will move onto something else so remember this and limit exposure to covid-19 anxiety provoking content if possible.
• Stay connected with family and friends, maintain healthy relationships and don’t be worried to call and have conversations with family. This is a societal issue and is visiting every town and area of the country so remember the stigma of this is temporary.
• If not sick make time for achievements and making the most of the time off, look at tasks that had been put off that now can be done.
• Maintain a positive mental attitude. Think of future plans that will still happen despite this virus and don’t be afraid to talk to friends, family and even professionals about concerns. Talking always helps.
Get the right advice from the proper health sources the HSE and the HPSC.
Anxiety Ireland provides psychotherapy to clients all over the country although our main office is in Glasnevin.
Throughout the crisis we will remain open and can do online/phone sessions with any individual who is struggling with self isolation, illness or Covid-19 anxiety.
To find out more please feel free to message our Facebook Page, call/text me on 087 063 0948 or email: email@example.com.
Some of our other articles that may be helpful include on Catastrophizing, What if thinking and Covid-19 self care.
Thanks for reading and please share, like, tag friends or comment if this was useful.
Founder – Anxiety Ireland
Anxiety is like a Merry-go-round, going nowhere, it’s time to step off.