How To Cope With Increased Stress & Anxiety During A Global Pandemic
Feelings and thoughts of stress and anxiety are a natural and understandable response given the risk we are all facing. The uncertainty and disruption to daily life is real and as we continue to hear more about the virus, your anxiety may rise to unhealthy levels.
People with a predisposition to anxiety are likely to see an increase in acute and prolonged stress. This will lead to a decline in mental health well-being. Being aware of the signs and knowing how to control the anxiety can help you when you experience feelings of overwhelming fear.
Recognising Signs Of Increased Stress And Anxiety In Yourself Or In A Significant Other
Feelings of stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 are completely normal and expected. However, this anxiety can become an issue when it is disproportionally disruptive to your everyday activities and ability to function as an employee, student, parent, friend, partner and more.
As the global pandemic continues to evolve and consumes our news cycle, if you find yourself exhibiting any of the following behaviours, it may be a sign that your anxiety is spiking:
- Extreme isolating behaviours (above what is recommended by health authorities).
- Social withdrawal.
- Repeated hand washing and sanitising (above the recommended amount).
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Avoidance of important appointments (including medical appointments).
- Wanting to excessively control the behaviour and whereabouts of loved ones.
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
- Feelings of daily fear.
- Distrust of others.
- High consumption of media about the pandemic causing a snowball of fear.
- Increased preoccupation with COVID-19.
Anxiety and stress revolving around the Coronavirus tend to cause social withdrawal behaviours above those recommended. This behaviour only accentuates stress, as it keeps individuals from getting the support they need from family and friends as a healthy coping strategy.
Here are some positive ways to manage stress during this period:
- Keeping in contact with your social supports via phone, social media, or meeting in secure spaces.
- Maintaining healthy habits with diet and adequate exercise. For example, instead of going to the gym, consider doing cardio and/or weight training at your local outdoor park. Similarly, you may utilise home exercise apps to continue your exercise routine whilst self-isolating.
- Reducing consuming media that relate to the pandemic. Whilst it is natural to keep yourself informed of developments, a high amount of news consumption (above 15 minutes per day) may only increase anxiety. Similarly, as other people are likely feeling heightened anxiety and stress, minimise engaging in debates and correcting others on social media forums.
- Seeking information only from reputable sources, such as your local health authority (NSW Health and The Australian Department of Health) .
If your anxiety or stress persists, it is advised you speak to your local GP or a mental health professional for support. Furthermore, a growing number of medical professionals are offering their services via TeleHealth.
At New Vision Psychology, our Sydney-based psychologists can assist with many individual mental health matters, in particular, for anxiety and depression. Give us a call on 1300 001 778 for assistance. All of our psychologists are available via Telehealth.
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