Practical Steps to Overcoming COVID 19 Anxiety

Practical Steps to Overcoming COVID 19 Anxiety

It has been an unusual time with still many unknowns as we continue through this pandemic. In May it seemed things were getting better with the vaccines available, mask mandates were gone (at least in NC) and there was a collective sigh of relief. At least temporarily. The summer surge of the Delta variant pushed many to move to more restrictive guidelines for themselves and some towns required masks again. So many people were unsure what was safe and how much should you go out even if you are vaccinated. It seemed to build a thick stew of uncertainty so many of us were unsure how to navigate. Since things have opened up more in our state, many people have traveled, gone to concerts and restaurants with some lingering fear of getting covid. Others continue to limit any time out in public and have not gone back to activities because of deep fears of being infected especially as more stories come out about people dying from covid.

So how do you manage that covid 19 anxiety to reasonable levels especially as you get out more in the community? Some fear is understandable but it can be debilitating to many.

Step 1: Keep informed of what is happening locally for you but don’t allow yourself to be completely absorbed in covid news for more than a few minutes a day. Constantly checking news on this can increase anxiety levels. Be sure to get facts from reputable sources as well such as the CDC or WHO.

Step 2: Take small steps. Its important not to rush out and go to the biggest public event locally if you haven’t done much socializing. Maybe just go to a local coffee shop with a friend and stay for a short amount of time as a start.

Step 3: Focus on what you can control. Continue doing the safety precautions (masks, handwashing, sanitizing, etc) and staying with activities that aren’t too high risk (Like large crowded events). Focus on the odds, most people infected get mild to moderate symptoms or none at all. Remind yourself that you are doing what you can to be safe and you will manage it and use your resources (get help from family, manage symptoms etc) if you do come down with covid, (if you got vaccinated also remind yourself that chances are it will prevent more serious iillness and hospitalization from occurring) some things are out of your control and acceptance is important

Step 4: If you worry about spreading it to others, remind yourself that no one intentionally would want to spread it and give it to others (unless they are highly unstable!). It’s a risk everyone takes by going out in public and its not all on you.

Step 5: Have the sniffles or a cough? Do your best to not jump to conclusions that you have covid. Allergy symptoms can occur and there are colds out there. Get the facts about what you are experiencing and a covid test just to be safe if needed. Watch your self-talk and reframe thoughts that are catastrophizing. Go from "It must be covid, I'm going to get really sick and might die!" To "let me wait this out a little longer, it is mild symptoms. Let me go to the Dr. if my symptoms persist and figure out what this must be."

Step 6: Do your best to bring some normalcy back into your life and engage in activities that bring you joy. Prioritize one of these activities on the weekend and find other ways to have fun and disengage from the news and talk of covid during a regular workday. Engaging in time with family, favorite tv shows, spending time outside or reading a really good book can be a healthy way to unwind

The uncertainty of when this pandemic will end sure does weigh heavy on all of us. Bringing yourself back to your internal self through meditation or yoga can be way to keep yourself grounded and sane through the chaos of the world today. Remember the more stress you are under the more self-care you will need to keep you stable, more than you are used too! If you are needing help managing covid anxiety, reach out for a consultation today. We at Path to Hope Counseling are here to help! Email us today at