Are you still feeling anxious and stressed even as the world returns to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic? You're not alone. For millions of people worldwide, post-COVID anxiety has become a daily struggle and one they may not have experienced before. In this article, we'll explore five practical ways to overcome post-COVID anxiety, including understanding your triggers, practising mindfulness and self-care, staying active and engaged, seeking professional help when necessary, and connecting with supportive networks. It sounds like a lot, but all these techniques can help find some balance and clarity after a period of time that seemed so chaotic. So, if you're ready to stop suffering and start living a more fulfilling life, read on.
Understand Your Anxiety Triggers
One effective way to overcome post-COVID anxiety is by understanding your triggers. In order to do this, you need to take a step back and analyze your thoughts and feelings. What situations or events cause you to feel anxious? Is it something that you read or see in the news? Could it be something rooted in childhood that you never thought was very important at the time? Is it a certain social situation or interaction? By identifying your triggers, you can take steps to avoid or prepare for them, ultimately reducing your anxiety levels.
Unless you take the time to discover and understand your triggers, you are simply treating the symptoms and although some relief feels amazing when you are just trying to get through the day, it's not sustainable in the long term. Trying to remain calm in the midst of anxiety can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health. Often your body will feel tired after what seems like very little activity and this fatigue can affect your social life and relationships.
Finding these triggers is something Discovery Journal specialises in. Using the method of journalling, but with a uniquely designed format to help see patterns in behaviour, monitor mood and track emotional responses to interactions and environments.
Practising Mindfulness and Self-Care
This involves being present and aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment, without judgement; sounds challenging, especially since anxiety usually makes you feel like you can't think past that single moment of panic, but learning to shift your thought process and focus can be really beneficial in the midst of an anxiety attack. This can be done through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking a few moments to focus on your senses and surroundings. Self-care involves taking care of your physical and emotional needs, like getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. You may be aware that you aren't concentrating on these aspects enough, or you tell yourself that your schedule doesn't allow for these " extra activities" but actually if you find a reliable way to fit them into your daily routine, they become much more achievable.
One way to do this is to invest in a Fitbit. You might think these watches are just meant for gym-goers and those that are heavily into sports, however, Fitbit Premium offers the user many health "metrics" such as body temperature, heart rate and stress levels. You can also use their meditation and mindfulness tutorials built into the app. Having a visual resource you can refer back to if so helpful for tracking all these vital self-care elements. It does all the work for you and all you need to do is simply amend your behaviours based on their findings.
Stay Active and Engaged
Being present and in the moment is an effective way to manage anxiety. However, it is equally important to stay active and engaged in the world around you. Participating in activities that bring you joy and that help you connect with others can help you maintain a positive outlook and reduce stress; not to mention the social aspect! This can involve anything from taking a walk in nature to joining a book club or volunteering in your community. I am a strong believer in "do what you love" and I appreciate this isn't always possible, after all, we've all done jobs we hated to get by! But if the majority of your time is spent at work, finding the elements of your time there that aren't satisfying you, can help you change the experience, or motivate you to find something that is a better fit.
For some, the anxiety developed through and after Covid is new and in order to conquer it, you must also adopt something new.
You can also regain a sense of purpose and control in your life by just taking that initial step towards something new, which can be empowering in the face of anxiety. Remember that it is okay to start small and take things at your own pace. The important thing is to keep moving forward and engaging with the world around you. Seeking professional help when necessary can also be a valuable tool for managing post-COVID anxiety.
Feeling inspired but don't know where to start or worried about budget? Try this insightful guide: Self-Care on a Budget: Affordable Ways to Support Your Mental Health
Seek Professional Help When Necessary
If you find that your anxiety is interfering with your ability to function, it may be time to seek professional help. Anxiety disorder can be very isolating in nature, and make you feel like you are the only one who has ever experienced it, but you aren't and there really are people out there that will not be phased by your symptoms and feelings, they are there to help you. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it, and it can be an effective way to manage your anxiety. A mental health professional can help you develop coping strategies and provide you with tools to manage your symptoms. They can also help you identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your anxiety and work with you to address them. Seeking professional help can be a valuable step in managing post-COVID anxiety especially if anxiety disorder is not something you have experienced before.
You can seek more advice about therapy and finding the right therapy for you in the following blogs:
Connect with Supportive Networks
One of the best ways to manage post-COVID anxiety is to connect with supportive networks. This can include family, friends, or online communities. Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences can be comforting and reassuring. It can also help you feel less alone in your struggles. Mental illness can be extremely isolating in nature so communication with anyone you feel you can open up to and trust is vital in recovery. In addition to emotional support, these networks can also provide practical support, such as helping with errands or providing transportation. Building and maintaining supportive networks can be a valuable resource for managing post-COVID anxiety.
In conclusion, post-COVID anxiety is a real and common struggle that should not be ignored or dismissed. By understanding your triggers, practising mindfulness and self-care, staying active and engaged, seeking professional help when necessary, and connecting with supportive networks, you can take control of your mental health and live a happier, more peaceful life. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and it's never too late to start taking action to overcome anxiety. As the saying goes, "The only way out is through." So let's take that first step together and start living a new life today!