Stuck in My Anxiety

Many people are still struggling with the anxiety that began for them with the onset of the COVICD 19 pandemic. Even though the pandemic is under much better control, masks are no longer required everywhere, and people are returning to work in person, for some folks their anxiety is lingering like an unwanted guest. Like a COVID-induced PTSD. Like a cloak of worry that won’t go away.

 It is hard to get back in the swing of commuting, sitting in an office, and being around a lot of people? It is hard to go to restaurants and be near strangers? It can even be troubling to be with family if there are little children who have not been vaccinated. And especially now that the warm weather has arrived, it feels somehow easier to stay at home on the patio or by the pool.

Just this past week, I had a chance to get together with all of the family for the first time in almost 18 months. It was so wonderful not just to see them, but to be able to hug them! But at the same time, it felt a little weird. I asked myself “If I am enjoying this, why am I worried about it?”

On reflection, I realized that even though conditions have changed with the vaccine, my own reactions seem stuck in the same place they have been for 18 months. I developed a habit of thought and behavior that was very adaptive during the pandemic but isn’t needed now. So how do I change it?

First, look inside yourself to try to find the source of your anxiety, before you look for an outside cause. Are you a natural worrier? Do you have a chronic illness and did you feel somewhat safer during the pandemic because you didn’t have to go out? Are you someone who does not deal with change well?

Try to work on getting a good night’s sleep every night, because even though we were at home, worry was pervasive and a lot of us did not sleep well. Follow guidelines for good sleep.

Continue to exercise, or if you haven’t been, start to get out in the air and exercise. Meditate if you are more comfortable with that. Both these things will not only help your body and your brain, they will also feed your soul.

Make an effort to see people, in small numbers if that feels better. Get used to it slowly. Habits are easier to change if you try doing it in small chunks.

Don’t let anti-vaccine rhetoric scare you. A good proportion of people are vaccinated and we are safer because of it.

Remind yourself that you can hang on to your anxiety or you can get the hang of change.

I choose CHANGE. Do you?

I am available for in-person and telemedicine visits. Contact my office at 732-933-1333 to make an appointment if you need help getting thru these difficult times.