If you’ve felt more anxious than usual over the past year, you’re not alone. Living through a global pandemic that required us to remain socially isolated and worry about the health of ourselves and our loved ones has had an impact on so many Americans’ mental health. And that impact is even more pronounced for those who were already living with an anxiety disorder. If your anxiety has been difficult to deal with lately as you scroll through news story after news story, then this article is for you. Here, we will detail a few steps you can take to help better manage your anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limit Your News Consumption
It’s easier than ever to consume copious news coverage these days, as we have access to stories right at our fingertips. From social media to news organizations, there is seemingly endless news to view. If you feel your heart rate increasing and your mood level decreasing whenever you look at the news, it’s a good idea to look for ways to limit your news consumption, such as:
- Stepping away from the news completely for a period of time—perhaps setting a standard of not reading any news on the weekend
- Only consuming news during a set timeframe, such as every day at 6:00 p.m. for half an hour
- Finding one or two reliable news sources to follow on social media, and muting or unfollowing all other news outlets and journalists
- Avoiding the media entirely and asking a friend to share important updates when necessary
Understand What’s In Your Control
There are specific action steps you can take to help reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 as well as plan for what will happen if it does. For example:
- Always wearing a mask when in public, washing your hands frequently, and staying 6 feet apart from others
- Getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet to help support a strong immune system so that, if you do contract the virus, you may experience just a mild case
- Avoiding crowds and non-essential public outings
Stay in Touch
With all of us seeing people less and staying home more, it can be easy to let relationships fall to the wayside. But this can exacerbate anxiety symptoms, which is why it’s important to stay connected to your friends and family as much as possible. While it can be more difficult to plan socially distanced activities in the winter, as being outside in frigid temps can be uncomfortable, consider having regular video chats with your loved ones and downloading apps that allow you to sync up your TV with a friend’s to watch shows and movies together.
Take Care of Your Body
One of the best ways to manage your anxiety during COVID-19 is to get regular exercise. This can be as simple as going for a short 20-minute walk or as vigorous as a spin class (if you’re one of the thousands of people who purchased a spin bike during 2020). Staying active is one of the best ways to manage anxiety and keep your endorphins high.
The professionals at PhysicianOne Urgent Care are here to help if you’re experiencing anxiety symptoms. Our urgent care centers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York are open every day of the year, and we help patients experiencing a wide range of conditions. We even offer curbside COVID-19 testing for your convenience. Contact us today to learn more.