When Covid-19 began claiming victims around March 2020, nobody expected it to go on for this long. Almost 6 months in, the threat looks set to hang around at least until the 2020/21 winter is over. Even if you’ve managed to remain physically safe from the virus this far, it’s playing havoc with the mental health of many and causing anxiety attack symptoms in people who would otherwise remain unfairly unaffected by it. Here’s why living under the virus is so stressful, and some strategies for coping with the anxiety and depression it causes.
Why the Coronavirus Threat Is So Stressful
When people start dying around you and there’s no cure or vaccine for the illness that’s killing them, it’s completely understandable to begin feeling anxious or distressed. Both of these mental conditions are based on fear, because most people are afraid of or concerned about at least some of the following:
- Contracting the virus
- Physical separation from loved ones
- Family members getting sick
- The psychological strain of isolation and quarantine measures
- The effect on the economy
- Future quality of life
- Personal financial issues, and
- Long-term global impact/disruption.
At the same time, the U.S. continues to have record numbers of infections on a daily basis, and with hundreds of thousands now dead, the risk to all of us is very real and frightening.
Assessing Your Stress Risk Level
In order to cope with your concerns, it’s essential to first understand your risk level. It’s easy for medical teams to issue instructions about social distancing, handwashing and self-isolation, but if you fall into a high-risk group, these measures might not be enough. If you need to actively quarantine for any reason, your risk for stress-related symptoms increases.
Some people are more susceptible to stress than others, too, especially if they fall into categories such as:
- Those with an existing mental health condition that could trigger an increase in psychological distress and trauma symptoms.
- Older adults, especially those in isolation and those who have cognitive decline/dementia, who may display anxiety attack symptoms or become agitated and withdrawn during the outbreak or while in quarantine.
- Anyone at risk of sexual or gender-based violence, who is likely to experience higher stress as a result of isolation.
In addition, children might feel fear and sadness at the disruption of life as they know it. They need to be able to express and communicate their feelings in a safe, supportive environment. Creating familiar or new routines such as taking part in age-appropriate activities, playing and socializing with others can help, even if it’s only within the family circle.
Coping with Your Concerns
So how do you carry on going about your daily activities, whether they are doing (or looking for) work, retirement or leisure, voluntary or educational, without losing your mind to the anxiety? Here are some of your options.
Many people try to deny the fact they are struggling with the stresses of daily living, and during the Covid-19 crisis many feel the need to “be strong” for others in their family. Suppressing feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy and can lead to becoming blasé about the threat, especially if you don’t personally know someone who contracted the virus. The risk of this approach is downplaying the danger and becoming complacent about accepted safety measures such as social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks in public.
Keep a Journal
The trick to handling stress-related anxiety or depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what you’re going through. When you’re having a bad day, allow yourself to feel the emotions for a predetermined period of time, then make a conscious effort to distract your attention. Consider journaling about how you feel or writing down what you’re experiencing. When your mood lifts, write about that too. This will help you to identify what affects your feelings and the way anxiety attack symptoms come and go.
Use Natural Therapies
Exercise, meditation and natural anxiety supplements are all helpful natural therapies for taking the edge of your Covid-19 stress-related anxiety and depression. For example, the results of a 2018 trial suggest that drinking chamomile can alter your levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular derivative of marijuana that excludes the THC substance that creates a “high.” Research suggests CBD has some potential to reduce anxiety and panic. You can get CBD oil in many forms in alternative healthcare stores, and doctors can prescribe it in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Naturally-formulated remedies such as Dr. Garber’s Natural Solutions Anxiety Relief and Dr. Garber’s Natural Solutions Depression Relief contain a blend of biotherapy ingredients that help relieve anxiousness and irritability, depression and feelings of sadness and melancholy. As part of a range that includes the best natural product for stress and anxiety, these formulas are ideal for people who would prefer to avoid the harmful side effects of prescription drugs.
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