Stress and Anxiety During the Pandemic by Sonya Deol, MSW, RSW
It’s clear that the last 18 months has been stressful for the world as a whole. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected people in many different ways and the how we live has been greatly impacted. If you have noticed an increase in stress and anxiety during this time, you are not alone. Navigating new safety guidelines and restrictions is overwhelming to say the least. You may feel that the coping strategies you used previously are not working as well. It might be helpful to learn about other tools that can reduce feelings of anxiety so that you can feel more at peace during this difficult time.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your mind’s natural response to perceived threats; it’s designed to protect you. The pandemic brings uncertainty and a feeling of not being in control of what may happen, which can make you feel anxious – a normal reaction to our conditions. But constant anxiety and stress that is not managed can impact your overall wellbeing, including it leading to possible health complications. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce anxiety and improve your wellbeing.
How can you cope with anxiety?
- Limit your daily news intake and search for credible information
There is a lot of misinformation that is found online, so it’s important to check information from reliable sources like The World Health Organization or Health Canada. Think carefully of what you may come across on social media.
- Take time for self-care
Intentionally set aside time for yourself to do something relaxing, like being in nature, reading, unplugging, and meditation. Remember to be kind to yourself as you are dealing with anxiety or stress.
- Stay active
It can be easy to stay indoors when working remotely (especially during a lockdown), but it’s important for your mental health to step outside for some fresh air. Finding ways to add exercise to your routine is helpful, whether it’s an online video, a brisk walk, yoga, or safely going back to the gym.
- Focus on what you can control
Anxiety increases when you feel things are out of your control, so it’s useful to think about what is within your control. For example, planning time to stay connected to others, following safety protocols, prioritizing healthy sleep and eating habits, being mindful of catastrophizing thoughts, and reminding yourself of times you got through challenges in your life.
- Seek out support
Make sure you have a circle of support of people you can reach out to so that you don’t feel alone. Safely seeing your loved ones in-person or connecting through phone/video calls can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. Surround yourself with people who bring positivity and be careful of those who can increase your stress through negative talk.
Getting help from a professional
If you are interested in seeking support for anxiety, please reach out to me at Art of Wisdom Counselling. I am a Clinical Therapist offering 50-minute counselling sessions for a range of concerns including anxiety, depression, stress management, grief, relationship issues, family conflict, and trauma. My practice focuses on mindfulness, self-compassion, and self-empowerment to help you get through any barriers you may be currently facing. To learn more, visit www.artofwisdomcounselling.com.