What is covid anxiety and how can you deal with it?
Covid affected people in multiple ways, and continues to do so. It isn’t crazy to assume everyone knows someone that either lost their life or lost someone close to them as a result of covid. Whether that was from covid itself, a change in lifestyle due to covid, an ailment missed or untreated because of covid or from the vaccination.
So many lives were suddenly disrupted, big changes and a lot of scary news. The risk of dying flashed in front of our eyes everywhere we looked for nearly two years. When you turned one thing off another thing popped up to remind you. When your brain perceives something as a threat to your life it very quickly moves into the fight or flight response… the anxious state.
When you have covid anxiety you have a strong fear of covid. You worry about it much of the time and your worry is out of proportion to the actual threat. The media campaign around covid exaggerated the risk levels and made the real-life situation feel more extreme than it was. The loss of lives is tragic and the daily death report made it feel like we lost half the population. In reality, the excess death rate over the past couple of years is less than 0.2%. Each individual loss is awfully sad; for the victim’s family and friends, covid is a worst enemy. Stories of long covid increase anxiety and confirm the threat. When you hear people muttering the phrase “learning to live with covid” your heart beats faster and you wonder whether you will ever learn to live with it.
Covid anxiety symptoms present much like health anxiety, some scientists call it covid anxiety syndrome. Like health anxiety, sufferers constantly check for symptoms of covid and find going back to a previous lifestyle difficult - continuing to avoid public places and cleaning obsessively. Things the government asked us to do for such a long time. It is understandably difficult to suddenly drop the new habits.
It is OK to take things slowly, take a small step out of your comfort zone and, when that feels comfortable, take another. Each small step will force you to pull the strength from within to manage the situation. This will gradually ease you back to a more typical lifestyle. No one expects you to revert to their previous way of living if you feel a different way is beneficial for you. Carve out a path that you feel will meet your current needs.
The adaptations that happened over the past two years, such as more online working, have made us all change. “Going back to normal” is a phrase I dislike for more than one reason, least of all because the world is different to how it was two years ago. Although we stopped doing a lot of things, time did not stand still. Never before have we tried to rewind the clock by two years to live how we lived before.
Anxiety after covid
My best friend lost her hair. I felt depressed. I spoke with someone whose vision blurred. Whilst some researchers say long covid is not a thing, there is an argument for post-viral fatigue. Each of these post covid symptoms caused anxiety.
Researchers have seen a link between covid and anxiety, it might feel like you are the only person in the world struggling in this way but it isn’t the case. Depending on the severity of your experience you may also have feelings of trauma. Trauma happens after a situation in which you felt out of control and unsafe.
There are no specific post covid anxiety symptoms as everyone has different reasons for the anxiety. However, feelings of anxiety and trauma are similar irrespective of the cause. This is helpful for your recovery as there are many places already set up to help. Yoga is a wonderful activity to help both anxiety and trauma. Hypnotherapy will help you to process your experience and if your hypnotherapist includes meditation and mindfulness your body will relearn how to live in the default, calm state.