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My #1 Tip for Reducing COVID-19 Anxiety

March 19, 2020 Natasha Tracy

Coronavirus (COVID-19) anxiety is a real problem for me and so many others. I keep hearing from people daily about how this anxiety is hurting them. One woman told me she literally shook when she had to leave her apartment. Another mentioned that she has had to almost double her anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medication just to stay semi-functional. And I admit, COVID-19 anxiety is getting to me too. So here's my number one tip for reducing COVID-19 anxiety.

COVID-19 Anxiety Needs Reducing

I hate being anxious, but, unfortunately for me, anxiety is a big part of my mental illness picture. Yes, my primary diagnosis is "bipolar, type II" but anxiety is a big part of my day-to-day life. Reminding myself to take deep breaths happens, maybe,100 times throughout the day, without exaggeration. I'm constantly trying to calm myself down.

And, not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic is making my anxiety much, much worse. I feel like there's anxiety in the air now. I feel like there are vibrating, prickles attacking everyone and putting everyone on edge. When I text people and ask them how they're feeling, "anxious" is usually in the first sentence. Now we are all suffering from an anxiety disorder -- the COVID-19 anxiety disorder.

Reducing COVID-19 Anxiety -- My #1 Tip

I posted part of my number one COVID-19 anxiety reduction tip on Instagram yesterday and today I'm going to elaborate on it. In short, it is: Limit your COVID-19 information intake.

This means:

  • Turn off the news
  • Ignore the newsfeeds on your phone
  • Step away from social media
  • Have conversations about something other than the pandemic

Do these things and watch your anxiety decrease.

Why Does COVID-19 Anxiety Exist?

There are two issues that are fueling such great amounts of anxiety around COVID-19 and they are uncertainty and focus. This tip addresses both.

First, there is uncertainty. Uncertainty is one of the major things (perhaps the number one thing) that causes anxiety and worry in people. This is understandable. If you are dealing with the unknown, you can always paint in that space with the scariest situation imaginable -- likely much scarier than whatever is going to happen. 

For example, you don't know if you're going to be infected with COVID-19 or how bad the resultant illness might be, so you worry you'll get the illness and you'll be so sick that you'll need a ventilator, but then you worry they'll run out of ventilators so you'll die.
And that's how anxiety work. Anxiety paints the darkest picture possible and even if it's not realistic, you'll still be plagued by it.

And it will hurt. 

And this brings us to issue number two: focus. 

Anxiety tends to be the focus of your world when it gets bad. Everything going on around you seems scarier when anxiety is plaguing your brain. Those vibrating prickles I mentioned do feel real.

And once you get to the place where you’re worried about contracting an illness, or worried about your loved one contracting the illness or worried that you’re going to inadvertently spread the illness, all you can do is worry about those things. The anxiety breeds more focus and the focus breeds more anxiety.

COVID-19 Anxiety Reduction

So the thing to do is to remove the COVID-19 subject from your mind -- temporarily. Even limiting your intake of COVID-19 information isn't going to make the situation disappear and mention of it is bound to occur. Additionally, you do want to be informed about where things stand each day. But limit your intake. The peace you find when you're not obsessing over COVID-19 is worth it.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2020, March 19). My #1 Tip for Reducing COVID-19 Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, March 31 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2020/3/my-1-tip-for-reducing-covid-19-anxiety



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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