Post Pandemic Anxiety – Overview
COVID-19 is something that has played a daily role in our life the past year and a half. To say the stress of the pandemic has been exhausting would be an understatement.
If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, and/or depression due to the craziness of COVID, you are not alone.
For so long, all we have heard is negative news. It feels like this will never go away and new variants are popping up all the time. It becomes overwhelming.
At times like this, you must start implementing proper self-care techniques.
It is time to take care of yourself and put your mental and physical health first.
Make exercise a priority
Whether you believe social distancing was the correct protocol or not, one thing is for sure. Constant disinfecting and distancing have weakened everyone’s immune systems.
The best form of self-care you can exercise (no pun intended) is being active.
Even a brisk walk for 20 minutes each day can increase your white blood cells enough to sufficiently strengthen your immune system to help your body fight infections.
Not only does it make your immune system stronger, but you also become healthier, lose weight, your mental health improves, and so much more.
Exercise does so much for the body and releases so many hormones needed for a healthy life. Humans are not meant to sit in a house or front of a screen every day. Our bodies were made to move.
Not only does this self-care method help with your mental health, but it also helps to break down the build-up of lactic acid.
When you sit around too much, your body starts to build up lactic acid. This is what creates muscle stiffness and soreness in the body.
Stay true to your boundaries
The most important part of proper self-care is learning how to set boundaries. This helps you to identify who you are and what you will tolerate in your life. Your mental health must have firm boundaries in place, especially with people who disrespect them often.
If you have friends and family members who tend to disagree with your outlook on COVID-19 and they cannot have a respectful conversation about it, you need to be the one to put boundaries in place.
If you do not, they will continue to place their beliefs on you and make you uncomfortable.
It is easy to say you are going to set boundaries, but how do you do that?
- First, you need to identify what those boundaries are to yourself. What will you allow into your life? What do you not want around you?
- Release the guilt and understand that boundaries are healthy to have in every relationship.
- Make your boundaries clear to the people you are setting them with. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is probably the hardest part as well.
- Make sure you let people know, early on, when they are violating the boundaries that you have put in place. They are your boundaries, you need to let others know when they are crossed. This establishes a healthy relationship with your boundaries that lets others know you will not tolerate them being crossed.
A good way to set boundaries when you do not know where to start is to complete this sentence…
I value _____, so I need ______ and I will honor by _______.
For example, “I value my mental health, so I need to follow rules I set for myself and I will honor by distancing myself from people who make me feel bad for my values.”
By breaking it down like this, you make clear the step-by-step process you will take to set and follow your boundaries.
Be honest with yourself
Do not continue to live in fear because of COVID. The best way to practice self-care is to get back to your normal life as soon as possible. When you continue to live in fear, your fight or flight instincts stay active. This will leave you prone to anxiety, depression, weight gain, and more.
Being able to overcome these fears and getting back to your day-to-day life is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
This means having a daily routine in place, getting back to living your pre-COVID life, and understanding the risk to reward ratio of going out. COVID is most likely going to be around for a while. You need to decide if you will let the fear of COVID control your life or not.
If you do let it control you, you are putting yourself at greater risk for mental illness and other physical illnesses. Remember, the compromised immune system mentioned earlier? Living your life in fear of something will force you to lose out on so much joy.
You need to be honest with yourself.
The longer you let fear control your life, the longer you will live in misery.
This is not because of COVID. This is a fear that is impacting your day-to-day life. Any therapist would work with you to approach and overcome the situation to live a life free from fear.
These three self-care techniques are the top three most important ones for every person to enforce in their life. Actively living by these three tips is something we all should be practicing daily. Unfortunately, life does not always work that way.
- Exercising and getting your body moving
- Setting and sticking to boundaries
- Being honest with yourself and not letting fear control your life
What has been your favorite form of self-care to help deal with the stress of COVID-19? Let us know below in the comments.