COVID-19 has been with us for a long time now. While we can all do our best to follow the safety protocols in our area, much of the pandemic is outside of our control. A lack of control can be incredibly scary - particularly if you are in recovery.
How anxiety & fear of COVID-19 can impact you
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a lot of fear and anxiety for people. Examples can include:
- Fear of getting sick
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of loved ones getting sick
- Fear of the virus impacting your brain injury
- Fear of the unknown
You could be experiencing one or more of these fears as a result of the pandemic - particularly as this has been a long-term and stressful situation.
Resilience is sometimes exhausting. I began noticing symptoms of anxiety and depression
This is an enormously intense situation, and it is normal to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. You may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Changes in your mood
- Changes in your sleeping or eating patterns
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Difficulty coping with stress
- You get angry or impatient quickly
These symptoms are also common after brain injury, and can be made worse by stressful situations - such as a pandemic.
Coping with fear & anxiety related to COVID-19
Build a routine you can control
Building a routine that you can control can help ease your fears about the things you can’t control. It can provide a sense of calm. It’s as simple as making breakfast, or setting a time limit on the computer, or even a regular afternoon walk.
Find and follow the current COVID-19 safety recommendations
It has added a lot of anxiety to my life. It is stressful trying to remember all the rules
It’s challenging to keep up with the rules and regulations put in place, particularly as there are so many sources of information out there. It can add another layer of stress.
Your local health authority (or provincial government) regularly updates their safety guidelines, and they are the most reliable source for current information.
If you aren’t sure whether the information you are looking at is accurate, ask a friend or family member to confirm the information with you.
Identify and confront what causes you stress
While you can’t control the pandemic, you can identify and manage other sources of stress in your life. When you start feeling stressed or fearful, think about what you were doing before you experienced those feelings.
Were you doing the dishes? Reading something? Scrolling through social media? By remembering what caused you fear or stress, you can either make sure to avoid it in the future, ask for help, or (if it’s something that must be done), pick a different time of the day to do it.
Minimize your news and social media exposure
While it’s important to stay informed about what’s going on, it seems that everyone is talking about the pandemic. And that can be incredibly overwhelming, and makes it hard to focus on the positive.
By setting limits on your social media time and restricting how much you read the news, you can give yourself breaks from reading/hearing about COVID-19.
Practice positive affirmations
It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of negative thoughts, and it’s hard to get it out of it. One way you can take care of yourself is practicing positive affirmations.
Positivity takes practice and patience. Here are some articles that can help you get started.
Reach out to your support people
Isolation is unfortunately a common occurrence after brain injury and during the pandemic. Even though it’s not possible to see people as we normally do, it’s important to stay as connected as possible.
This means reaching out regularly to friends, family members or caregivers through email, instant messaging, phone calls or video chats.