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Get out of corona anxiety

Corona anxiety: worrying symptoms

According to the mental health charity Mind, the lockdown efforts have also taxed our cognitive resources. Many of us now struggle with a mixture of anxiety, depression, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, confusion, suspicion and powerlessness.

Lockdown, isolation from friends and loved ones, loss of job and income – grief and loss on many levels. In addition, the usual highlights in life such as birthday parties, holidays or educational qualifications are missing. The media incessantly stir up fear of an invisible, deadly enemy that strikes through the air we breathe.

We are forced to live with constant levels of fear and arousal. In addition, there is the difficulty in dealing with our feelings towards loved ones when we have to live with them for a long time in an unusually small space.

The result is a persistent threat reaction from the body. This threatening response is strikingly similar to post-traumatic stress – insomnia, anxiety attacks, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and frightfulness. Our sympathetic nervous system can only withstand such pressure for a limited time before we crash.

Fear narrows the view and activates our attack-flight response. When we are in this survival mode for an extended time, the fear enters a dark phase. Immediate medical assistance is then required. Therefore, first, a list of alarm signals in the event of corona fear.

Signs that your corona fear is serious

1. Bad sleep

Fear not only leads to poor sleep, but insufficient sleep quality can also lead to anxiety, stress and depression – a vicious circle. The good news is that exercise and good sleep hygiene can often help us get back on track.

2. Mental filters

If we focus exclusively on the impending disaster and bad news, our fear level becomes serious.

3. Loss of interest and joy

An even more severe sign is losing touch with others and stopping enjoying being with friends and family. When we don’t want anything and feel empty inside, when things that we should appreciate or do with joy no longer mean anything to us, this is a sign that we need help and support.

4. Helplessness or crippling fear

Helplessness in the face of the threat of Covid-19, while facing domestic violence or to short-time work or unemployment even, often leads to trauma symptoms.

Anyone who loses their job experiences a threat to their roles, relationships, and identity, giving their lives meaning.

5. Thoughts of suicide

Of course, when we become so hopeless and fearful that the thought of ending our lives seems like salvation, it is a sign that we need professional help.

Military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder call this the “time when our demons’ whispers gain the upper hand. Then we start brainstorming a story that others will not miss us or a burden to those we love.

Corona fear: what to do?

1. Keep in touch with people:

Connect with friends and loved ones. Technology is an excellent opportunity for many of us. Make a list of the 10 or 20 people who matter most to you and call one of those people every day, old-fashioned. Talk about your experiences and fears or simply your everyday life. We survive together. Therefore, include in the call action also people who you think are particularly isolated at the moment.

2. Breathe deeply.

Deep breathing is free, and it works. Inhale through your nose, hold your breath, and then exhale very slowly through your mouth as if you were blowing through a straw.

3. Gratitude.

Science has shown gratitude makes us happier and more optimistic. Every day, write two or three things for which you are grateful. That changes your view of the world.

4. Take control of your mental state.

Take a piece of paper, draw a line in the middle, and write down on one side the things that you currently cannot control. On the other side of the line, write what you can control. After that, you’ll devise a plan of action for the things that you can handle. That widens the tunnel vision to loss and threats and gives us back the feeling of dealing with difficulties.

5. Create a schedule.

Many people work too a lot, or if they can’t work, they worry about finances. Then it helps to establish a schedule that separates work from family and leisure and includes physical activity that is critical to improving our mood. Meditation or mindfulness are also excellent options for this.

6. Be careful with the media.

Limit the time you spend on messages, especially if you are scared. That similarly applies to social media.

7. Smile.

“Laughter is the best medicine,” they say. That applies to the fear of our time. We cannot be fearful and smile at the same time. It is a physiological fact. So watch a fun movie or a comedy show that will make you laugh. Who of your colleagues or acquaintances is good at telling jokes?

8. Stay optimistic.

There are many imponderables. Don’t let this shake you or take away your optimism. Optimism is always better than realism. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on our lives can make us feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely, or frustrated.

9. Take care of your body.

Our physical health has a significant impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to slip into unhealthy behaviours that make us feel worse. Eat healthy and balanced foods, drink enough water, and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and don’t drink too much alcohol.

Corona anxiety: how to get your friends into the world again

While it is liberating for many of us to come back to the world again, the thought of it can be highly stressful for others because of coronavirus fear. With the loosening of the lockdown situation and the country’s reopening, some people have mixed feelings about living “normally” again. The government’s pandemic measures are being extended. The media continues to spread fear. And the genetic vaccines, too, seem at best to partially meet the expectations placed on them of eliminating the threat, despite the difficult-to-assess side-effect risks.

When you’re young and fit, you probably want to be outside and live again after being home for over a year, even if you’ve brought your banana bread making skills to a Michelin star level. Here are tips on how to help your friends with corona fear regain their confidence in normalcy.

1. Be considerate

Having compassion for your anxious friends is the most important thing you can do. Don’t deny your feelings and create space to address problems.

While you’d like to meet your friends, keep in mind that they will feel more concerned than you after the lockdown. To help a friend feel more secure, first, try to understand better what is worrying them. Finding an open ear can be the first step in easing anxiety. Build trust by supporting needs and showing understanding.

2. Be patient

Even knowing that the media has spread panic, we may have difficulty overcoming the fears that it causes. Often, we get angry or are impatient with friends who are reluctant to come out of their shell and want to join in. Patience, on the other hand, shows an understanding of their nervousness. When talking to such friends, try not to belittle or undermine their feelings or what they say. That can heighten fears and lead them to withdraw more. Instead, try to understand their emotional state better and offer support. Remember, you are talking to a friend who needs your help because they feel vulnerable.

3. Pick up where you left off

Once concerns have been discussed, you can agree to do something together. You may be able to take inspiration from the things you’ve done together before. Avoid suggesting anything that creates discomfort.

If your friends are concerned about larger groups, suggest a one-on-one meeting where it won’t be too crowded. This understanding will go a long way towards building trust. Try a short walk around the block and chat to relieve nervousness or anxiety.

4. Get out into nature

Many of us found parks and forests beneficial during the lockdown. Being outdoors is increasing our well-being. It will help your friends feel less anxious while comprising only mild pressure and little risk of transmission. It provides us with an opportunity to discuss what makes our friends most worried.

Corona anxiety: what you should always keep in mind

We all had to go through the pandemic measures together. Make it easy for your friends who shy away from a barbecue or an after-work beer. We had to get by with very little interaction for over a year, and we got used to it. Not everyone thaws out of social distancing immediately.

“The better part of valor is discretion”, Shakespeare let his knight Falstaff say in “Henry IV”…

Sources:

CNN: 5 signs your coronavirus anxiety has turned serious, threatening your mental health, and what to do about it.

NHS: 10 tips to help if you are worried about COVID-19

Ward, Tom: How to get your friends out into the world again.

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