Anxiety is a feeling of fear or nervousness that is caused by a certain event. Many people could feel anxious with the constant threat of contracting the COVID-19 disease and it is important to keep this feeling at bay. Being anxious to a certain level could be normal, however, it could be a symptom of an underlying condition if you constantly feel fearful or apprehensive about what will come next.

Keeping Anxiety at Bay Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic - Acko

How To Keep Anxiety At Bay During The COVID-19 Pandemic:

The COVID-19 will be a matter of concern until a cure or vaccine is found. One cannot deny the fact that many lives have been affected either directly or indirectly, by the coronavirus. However, it will only be wise to take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the harmful effects of COVID-19. Here is what you can do to keep anxiety at bay in this situation.

1) Accept Your Anxiety:

Believe it or not, control comes with acceptance. The first step towards controlling your anxiety is to understand that the current situation is making you nervous. Next, try to reason with your nervousness. Can you do something that would directly affect the ongoing pandemic? Like finding a cure or a vaccine. The answer would probably be no. Now, try to accept the fact that you are a little anxious. Your next step is to try and control this anxiety.

2) Selfcare and Meditation:

It is not a wise move to step out of the house, unless for an emergency, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us are confined to our living spaces. However, even the dark cloud named ‘coronavirus pandemic’ comes with a silver lining. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take care of yourself and the people you love. First of all, be kind to yourself and others. You may also want to write down a bunch of positives that make you happy.

Practising meditation on a regular basis has a ton of benefits. It will not only relax your mind and body but also help improve focus. If you are new to meditation, understand that it is very simple. You can choose from a bunch of different techniques and start meditation right after you finish reading this article! Here are a few for your reference:

  • Relax and chant a word or a person’s name that makes you happy. People usually chant ‘Om,’ but any word would work.
  • Focus on a single point. This could be a candle’s flame or any one spot on the wall in front of you.
  • For a deeper state of relaxation, think about a negative event in your life and imagine it in a positive manner. For example, if a car had splashed dirty water on you, imagine a bright sunny day and your beloved pet or a person smiling at you from that car instead of the splash.
  • Practice guided imagery. Guided imagery is a form of relaxation where you are in complete control of your imagination. For example, imagine a beach with pleasantly warm water and cool breeze. Add details like the multiple shades of the sky, birds singing, a tree with ample shade, etc. You will find yourself relaxing with each detail.

3) Extend Help:

The world is facing a crisis due to the outbreak of coronavirus. In this situation, people are in need of multiple things that are not limited to food. So, try to control anxiety by helping others and showing compassion.

  1. You can donate money to a verified non-profit organisation. One of the options is to donate to the Coronavirus PM CARES fund. 
  2. The government is urging people to use homemade face covers. You can help people by donating such protective gear. Homemade face covers are very easy to create and can be manufactured in bulk. 
  3. You can also donate medical-grade protective equipment to hospitals and ‘frontline warriors’. 
  4. Blood donation is another option. If possible try to donate blood. However, follow the rules and advisories issued by the government first. 
  5. Try to donate food and other essentials like sanitary napkins, clothes, disinfecting solutions, soaps, etc.to the needy.

4) Reach Out:

Get connected to people that you care about, be it, family or friends. Ask about their well being. Engage in a random conversation with them. Do not talk about coronavirus as a ground-rule while speaking to your loved ones. You have multiple options to get in touch with people without stepping out of your house thanks to today’s advanced technology. Use free video calling with the help of chatting applications. Same goes for phone calls and chats. Social media is another option if you consciously avoid getting absorbed in negative or false news.

Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline Number, India

5) Make Time for No-brainer Activities:

Keeping busy with things that do not require special skills or focus can be very helpful in controlling anxiety. The most basic example can be household chores. Cleaning utensils, sweeping and mopping the house, etc. will help you keep busy without racking your brains.

6) Keep Updated by Checking Only Official Sources:

The coronavirus pandemic is a major event. The disease is spreading around the globe and people are leaving no stone unturned to look for ways to reach out to you with unverified news. Stick to official sources to keep yourself updated. Do not get overwhelmed with the constant bombardment of news on television or other mediums. Instead, visit official websites for verified information. In this manner, you will not only keep yourself updated with current affairs but also avoid unnecessary anxiousness.

7) Learn Breathing and Muscle Relaxation Techniques:

If you ever experience a panic attack, you need to be well prepared to face and control it. Learning breathing and muscle relaxation techniques will be helpful at the time of an attack. These are simple to perform and help in relaxing your mind and body.

  1. A breathing technique is nothing but a controlled inhale-exhale cycle. To begin, slowly inhale air and try to hold it for a few seconds. Exhale by pursing your lips. There should be a long and soft ‘whoosh’ sound while exhaling. Repeat this several times until you feel calm enough to move on to the muscle relaxation technique.
  2. To begin with muscle relaxation, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. You can start the relaxation technique either with your face or feet. First, clench these muscles, create tension and then release. Feel the tension go away from the muscles. Proceed to each part of the body. Eventually, your whole body should feel calm and relaxed.

8) Inculcate a New Habit:

Now is the time to learn things that you were interested in. You will find a bunch of free videos on the internet that will help you learn more about your topic of interest. If you are interested in sketching, you can take up a few beginners courses. Similarly, a lot of PDFs and audiobooks are available online. Consider investing time in activities of your interest. You can then set up a routine that will finally become a habit.

Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing

How to Get Out of a Panic or Anxiety Attack:

Follow these simple techniques to get out of a panic attack.

  • Recognize a panic attack: It will be useful if you recognise that you are having a panic or anxiety attack. Sometimes a piece of news or an event may overwhelm you with emotions. Try to speak to someone when this happens. That person may help you in understanding that this is an anxiety attack.
  • Close your eyes: Once you understand that you are having a panic attack, try to sit down and close your eyes. This might help you think rationally.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques: You can now apply the breathing and muscle relaxation techniques that you had practised earlier. 
  • Focus on your happy object: If possible keep your happy object around. It could be anything that evokes a happy thought. Reach out and hold this object during your panic attack. 
  • Chant a happy mantra: Chanting any mantra whether religious or not might be helpful during an attack. Saying simple things like – ‘Corona will end soon,’ ‘Everything is under control,’ etc. can be helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are answers to some questions that you might currently have:

Can anxiety disorders be of different types?

Yes, common anxiety disorders can be of the following five types
> Panic Disorder
> Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
> Social Phobia
> Generalized Anxiety Disorder
> Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
If you experience recurrent anxiety attacks you need to consult a certified medical practitioner and understand your situation in detail.

What is the impact of stress?

Stress can have an effect on both mental and physical wellbeing. Continuous stress could result in anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, mood swings, etc. These are the psychological effects of stress. It can affect your body with headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset, or insomnia.

How to judge if children are undergoing stress or anxiety, considering the COVID-19 situation?

The coronavirus situation can be equally stressful for children as it is for adults. Look for any changes in the behaviour like in constant need for attention, complaining excessively, disturbed sleep patterns, frequent crying, fussy eating, or overall withdrawal to activities that they previously enjoyed. Please consider talking to a paediatrician when you notice such changes in your child.


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