April 06, 2020

What to Do If Your Anxiety About COVID-19 Becomes Overwhelming

What to Do If Your Anxiety About COVID-19 Becomes Overwhelming

Feeling anxious and nervous about everything that’s happening as a result of COVID-19 is perfectly normal. Our lives are being turned upside down. Many people are struggling to make ends meet after losing their jobs. Some necessities are scarce. Parents are homeschooling while trying to work from home. There’s no getting around it, these are stressful times. 

So, what can you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety stemming from COVID-19? The first thing you should do is breathe. Take a deep breath slowly through your nose over five seconds, hold it for three seconds, then let it out through your mouth over five seconds. Repeat this process five times. Do this whenever you feel the anxiety starting to build. Here are some other things you can do reduce your anxiety:

  • Stay informed but limit how often you check the news. When you want information, stick to trustworthy sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away from the media for a while. 
  • Focus on what you can control. While you can’t control how long the pandemic will last or how other people will behave, you can control what you do and take steps to reduce the chances of being infected yourself, including:
    • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
    • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick. 
    • Avoiding non-essential shopping.
    • Staying at least six feet away from others when you do go out.
    • Getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.
  • Maintain a routine. As much as possible, try to stick to your schedule. Eat at the same times. Go to sleep at the same time. Wake up at the same time. If you’re working from home, keep your normal work schedule and be sure to schedule breaks. 
  • Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine will do you good. Going for a walk or run will make you feel better, just make sure to avoid crowded areas. 
  • Practice self-compassion. Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling anxiety and fear. It doesn’t feel good, but it does show that you’re fully human. 
  • Don’t skip self-care. Eat a balanced diet. Get plenty of sleep. Take a shower every day. Put time aside to enjoy leisurely activities. All of these things will help keep your immune system strong, which gives you more protection from COVID-19.
  • Practice meditation, yoga, or mindfulness. Feeling stressed now is completely normal, but there are ways to relax when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can all help bring more calm into your life.
  • Help others. Doing kind and helpful things for others who may be worse off than you can help you regain a sense of control over your life. It also makes you feel better, which will help reduce your anxiety.

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What Can I Do If My Anxiety Becomes Too Much to Bear?

If your mental health continues to worsen and you’re still feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or depression, make sure to reach out to a licensed mental health professional. Many of these specialists, including many at Baptist Health, are offering face-to-face online counseling, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your house for treatment. 

For more information about things you can do to help deal with your anxiety or stress, visit Baptist Health.


More Questions About COVID-19?

If you have more questions or concerns about COVID-19, go to BaptistHealth.com or visit other reputable sites, such as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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