Coping with Anxiety from COVID-19
By Roger Whittler, LPC
COVID-19 is affecting us all in unique ways. We have heard the recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention regarding steps we should take to protect ourselves and others. One of the best ways is by staying at home and keeping distance from other people. This action will help our medical and emergency workers by limiting the need for services while simultaneously slowing the spread of the virus.
For some, staying at home creates challenges. For example:
- If our self-esteem is measured by our contributions or the amount of work we do, we run the risk of feeling anxious and worthless.
- If we have financial obligations that are threatened by decreasing levels of work, we can feel anxious and hopeless.
- If we are restricted from being close to other people, we can feel anxious and lonely.
What is provokes anxiety in one person may not provoke it in another. The unique thing about anxiety is the influence of culture. What we become anxious about is tied to our early development and socialization. For some, work, finances, or loneliness do not cause anxiety. Culture impacts the focus of our fears and the ways the symptoms are expressed.
We are all facing uncertain times, and as we observe or experience sickness and tragedy, we can become constantly fearful. Below are a few tips for managing anxiety:
- Monitor the amount of worry you experience and try limiting the amount of time spent doing it. Worry is often a distraction from what you are truly fearful or concerned about.
- Speak to a trusted person about your true fears or concerns. Verbalizing your true feelings can relieve anxiety.
- Review the contacts in your address book or electronic database and reach out to those people who you frequently think of but seldom call.
- Make a routine that includes exercise three or four days per week for at least 30 minutes – exercise reduces anxiety.
- Develop a plan each day for what you want to accomplish – while at the same time adhering to safety guidelines.
If you feel anxious and would like to talk to someone, the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program is here to help.
Services are free for members of the bar, their families and law students. Need support? Call the Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program at 1-800-688-7859.