You are not alone. Suffering from pandemic stress and anxiety are normal.
It is inevitable to feel anxious, stressed, and scared in this frightening situation as we continue to face this global pandemic. Even before the implementation of enhanced community quarantine, a lot of us were monitoring the news—worried about ourselves and families becoming infected by the deadly virus. Others are bracing for what may come and asking themselves, “What’s going to happen next?” Until the establishments began closing, public transportations became suspended, and businesses stopped operating that brought the country into lockdown which also increased the anxiety, stress, and fear of many people. The uncertainty of surviving this crisis is probably the hardest thing to handle and comprehend, the virus isn’t the only thing that might kill people—for some, it can be starvation. That’s why it is also normal to feel angry, especially when we witness the injustices in front of us, but don’t let anger build and spread hatred.
Whether it’s dealing with at-risk family members or patients, trying to juggle work, keeping yourself occupied, or simply adjusting to a new and unfamiliar situation, stress and anxiety can easily pile up and negatively affect anyone both physically and mentally. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be impacted or how bad things might get, making it all too easy to catastrophize and spiral out into dread and panic. It is difficult to focus as of the moment, but there are many things we can do to reduce and manage our pandemic stress, anxiety, and fear.
Each one of us has our own way of coping up. Some people distract themselves through entertainment and hobbies such as reading, cooking, playing games, meditation, and other productive activities to keep down stress and anxiety. For others—mostly for the marginalized—restoring the faith in humanity gives them so much hope. These acts include participating in donation drives, expressing gratitude to the frontliners, holding onto faith, sharing reliable and helpful information, and preserving the essence of bayanihan. This is also a good time to understand the current situation and its overall effects by educating yourself and reflecting through your actions. Seeking for positivity and looking on the bright side might work for some, just assure that it won’t lead to toxic positivity and tone-deaf remarks.
Make it a habit to practice self-care as well, try to avoid things that trigger your anxiety or stress. Take a break from social media, limit your access to news—without being ignorant or uninformed—if it bothers you, or have time with yourself alone. Don’t hesitate to connect with your family or friends virtually! Talking to people you’re comfortable with could divert your attention. It will help a lot if we will check up on each other.
Regardless of our different ways of overcoming the pandemic stress and anxiety, what matters the most is for all of us to become mindful and show empathy. Let’s motivate and encourage one another, offer what we can do to help, and take care of our mental health. In the end, our common goal is to win this battle and go back to our COVID-free lives, right?
Feel free to rant about your struggles and thoughts in the comments section!
Featured image courtesy: Patty Ferriol