Managing Anxiety During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has led to mental health challenges for many. It has been traumatizing for those who are on the front lines as well as those who have been indirectly exposed.

I can name a million reason why people currently have anxiety, but here are a few:

  • Fear of getting sick
  • Fear of vulnerable family members getting sick
  • Difficulty adjusting to the changes
  • Separation from family members
  • Exhaustion from worrying or not sleeping well can bring on physical symptoms
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Worried about business or employees
  • Kids with special needs not getting services
  • Parents at home trying to work with the kids there
  • Anxiety due to previous medical traumas
  • Anxiety and fear about how and when we will transition back into the world

Trauma and Hyper Vigilance

Trauma can be defined as an unexpected event that can includes feelings of powerlessness. Trauma often includes a threat to our life or a fear of being harmed in some way.

The Pandemic is a collective trauma. It is a traumatic experience that we all sharing simultaneously.

The very nature of this Pandemic has meant hyper vigilance. Hyper vigilance is defined as a state of increased alertness. It essentially means that you are on guard. We have all had to be on guard: aware of physical symptoms, staying 6 feet away from others, hand washing, house cleaning, and wearing masks.

Symptoms of Increased Anxiety

If you or someone you know is experiencing increased symptoms of anxiety, it is normal surrounding a traumatic event.

Some symptoms that you may experience are: tight chest, clenching jaw, rapid heart rate, sweating, shallow breathing, warm or burning sensation in chest, trouble eating or sleeping, racing thoughts, and intense worry.

Tips for Anxiety:

  • Epsom Salt baths to relax tight muscles
  • Essential Oils in the bathtub or diffused. Lavender is known to bring a sense of calm
  • Deep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try breathing in for 3 counts and breathing out for 4 counts. Do this for 5 minutes.
  • Showers
  • Walks
  • Staying connected to others
  • Guided meditation (You can find lots of guided mediation on Youtube)
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Prayer or meditation
  • Pick a soothing mantra and repeat it over and over
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling.
  • Cold or warm liquids. Chamomile tea is a favorite of mine when I am anxious
  • Magnesium supplements.
  • Decrease your caffeine intake significantly

Consider consulting with your doctor or a mental health professional to help reduce your anxiety. Many therapists and doctors are offering virtual sessions.

Stay well my friends!

Kelley Lockhart-Delaune
Kelley Lockhart Delaune was born and raised In Metairie, Lousiana. She is married to her husband and has two boys, Roman (6) and Remy (4). Kelley received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from LSU and her Masters in Social Work from Tulane in 2002. Kelley is a psychotherapist in private practice in Mid-City where she focuses on helping others to heal themselves and their relationships. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about mental health and wellness. She loves the beach, transparency, the color blue, a good coffee, and CrossFit. You can find her on instagram @connectwithkelley.

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