Intern at UpStreet
Managing Stress and Anxiety Surrounding COVID-19
As we pass the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say that things still are not fully back to normal. However, with more and more places such as schools and restaurants opening back up, emotions and feelings surrounding getting back out into society can present themselves in a number of ways. Some are excited and eager to return to a somewhat normal lifestyle. Others may find themselves struggling with anxiety and stress when it comes to transitioning back to in-person events and activities. It is important to remember that it is completely normal to feel anxious or stressed during these times and that you are most certainly not alone. Recognizing those emotions in yourself is the first step to relieving some of those negative feelings.
The CDC provides a general description about what stress and anxiety may look like and some different ways to begin to cope with those feelings. You can find this information on the CDC website.
It is also good to remember to only attend events that you personally feel comfortable with. It is okay to set boundaries based on how safe or unsafe you may feel about different social situations. Remember to take into consideration your stress levels and not to push yourself if you feel too uncomfortable with a situation. Taking things day by day can be beneficial, as to not overwhelm yourself.
When you do feel stressed or anxious, it is oftentimes due to things that are out of our control. However, it can be beneficial to remember what we CAN control during these times. The graphic above is a good tool to utilize in order to remind ourselves of what we do have control over. This is known as our circle of influence. For example, when we do choose to go outside, we can choose to wear a mask, wash our hands, and social distance. These are some things that we can control. However, we have no control over things such as schools remaining closed or sporting events being canceled. Sometimes we tend to stress over things that are outside of our control, shown on the graphic as the circle of concern. Remembering what we have an influence over versus what we do not can help to relieve some of those fears or worries.
As restrictions surrounding COVID-19 begin to lift, it is likely that we will soon start to face transitions within our lives. Remembering to check in with yourself physically and emotionally is important when it comes to recognizing stress and anxiety. Recalling what we do and do not have control over in our lives is another way to tackle unpleasant feelings head on. Remember, whatever you are feeling during this unprecedented time is valid and you likely are not alone!