Living with COVID is nothing new. Almost 2 years into the pandemic, COVID has become a normal part of life. With more information than we had in March 2020, many people feel comfortable protecting themselves, and as they understand the dangers of the virus. As vaccines become even more readily available, people are more protected from the virus. While vaccines are available in countries like the United States, other countries do not have the same privileges, causing the virus to continue to spread and mutate. As mutations continue to develop, there are going to be more uncertainties surrounding COVID.
I am a pretty anxious person, especially with my health. A global pandemic was my worst nightmare. The looming uncertainty caused so much anxiety in my life. When the vaccine came, I started to feel a lot better. Now, as we move into the winter months and with the new variant, the anxiety is back. While it can be common for people to feel anxious about this pandemic, for some, the anxiety can be debilitating.
One of the first things I do when I feel this overwhelming anxiety is turn off the news. While it is a great source of information, sometimes the news can feel like doomsday. With new statistics and tragic stories everyday, it can become more harmful than informative, and ultimately lead to more anxiety. Not watching the news for a few days helps me mentally unwind.
While it is great to be out of the house, I have found that cutting down some of my plans has helped get a hold of my anxiety. Having to worry about how busy a place will be or mask guidelines can be stressful. I have found that when I stay home a bit more I feel more at peace. This doesn’t mean you should completely isolate yourself! Just don’t overwhelm yourself with too many stress-inducing activities.
The most important way for me to feel less anxious is to continue to wear my mask. As some places get rid of mask mandates or loosen restrictions, it can become more normalized not to wear a mask. With different opinions on mask wearing, it can become confusing as to what you should be doing. I feel more protected with a mask, so I choose to continue to wear one even if my city decides to stop their mandate.
Taking care of my overall mental health helps ease some of my anxiety. Having self care nights reduces my stress, and provides a nice distraction from the chaotic world. It is important to listen to your body and mind when you need a break.
For some, health anxiety comes and goes. Some days, it can feel like things are getting better and we should worry less, and the next day feels like the end of the world. The past two years have been hard for everyone. Remember to be kind to everyone, including yourself, as we navigate uncertain waters.
By: Sydney Karlos