How I deal with Pandemic Anxiety | Low Impact Filipina

“When is this going to end?’

“Do I have it already?”

“I’m not yet ready to die.”

Here are some thoughts that goes my mind every single day. I don’t even know what day it is sometimes. All I know is that yesterday, today, and tomorrow are the days of this week. Things get worse as day passes by – from the rising number of cases to the rising death tolls. It is all because of a virus that spread all throughout the world called Novel Corona Virus that lead to a disease called COVID-19 or Corona Virus Disease 2019.

If you are anxious about it, you are not alone. I came across this article from Washington Post stating that anxiety is making us sleepless, forgetful and angry. This is the reality. It’s the 27th of 46 days of the enhanced community quarantine in the Philippines and we cannot help for it to end.

Here are some tips that I do in order to cope with this pandemic anxiety especially if you are living alone.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert to this but only thinking that this works for me and may help you cope with your anxiety during this pandemic too.

1. Recognize your anxiety

At first, I try to hide the fact that I am not scared so I ended up worrying why I am not scared while everyone is. From there, I realized the value of recognizing your emotions and worries. When we think of not doing something, the more likely we are to actually do it. According to Joseph McNamara of University of Florida’s Center for OCD, Anxiety and Related Disorders, trying to deny your anxious feelings isn’t going to help you manage your stress later on. This is the same with studying before the exams. If you don’t feel anxious before studying, you won’t even start studying in the first place. Recognizing your feelings and emotions is the first step on how to deal with it later on. As someone who lives alone, identifying and recognizing these emotions is a challenge so I do it through journaling. I write down how I feel and reread it the next day. This helps me in organizing my thoughts and how to deal with these thoughts later on.

2. Identify the source of your anxiety

If we can identify the source of our anxiety, we are able to ‘social distance’ from it. Is it the social media? Is this the relatives who keep sharing fake news? Is it the Facebook page that no longer spark joy? If we identify the source of our anxiety, we can easily find a way to step back from it. In my case, my source of anxiety is the political beliefs of some people. I cannot blame them for that though but it just naturally gives me worries that they think in a certain way. Instead of debating with them, (which is not bad at all but is not healthy for my mental health, I virtually ‘social distance’ from them by unfollowing or taking a break. I also have a social media hiatus from time to time to reset myself from everything that’s going on in the world.

3.  Know the facts

The internet is a wide open book of uncertain (and certain) facts and information. Some of it are from unreliable sources that may or may not cause you to panic. Try to avoid unregulated online news sources and relying on depoliticized ones. As for me, I try to to check the source first before reading and sharing it with friends. This way, I am able to control how I react to this news and I am able to filter what’s goes to my head.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

One thing that eases my anxiety is that I have friendly neighborhood whom I can talk my feelings out – with social distancing, of course. As an ISFJ, I enjoy my time alone at home but it is also an advantage when you have a clear thinking person to ask what she thinks about certain topics. It helped a lot in organizing my thoughts. Of course, it is your choice if you want to follow the advice that you seek but it’s always good to have other people’s perspectives too.

5. Find a hobby or start working on a passion project.

If you have the passion for painting, drawing, writing, or whatever comes to your mind, this is the perfect time to do it. But please, don’t pressure yourself. It is okay not to be productive in the middle of a pandemic. In my case, I started planting the seeds that I have at home. I have always wanted to grow my own food but I just don’t have the time to do it. This time is just the perfect time. I also started organizing my stuff in my room and developing a habit of exercising everyday.

6.  Connect.

Social distancing mandates us to stay at home but it doesn’t mean we have to isolate ourselves. It helped me to communicate with my family, friends, colleagues and neighborhood. You can use phone, text, email, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp– all means possible in order to stay connected with your loved ones. In my case, I text and call my parents in Mindoro, my sister in Mindoro and my friends everyday just to check how the situation in there is are doing. It helped me ease my worries. If you do not have anyone to talk to, feel free to message me on my Facebook and Instagram. I’m all ears! ❤

These are the only things that help me in taking care of myself mentally and emotionally during this emergency response. Is there anything that I missed? Please let me know by finding me on Facebook and on Instagram @lowimpactfilipina.

Published by Angel Mata

Angel is a teacher based in Laguna, Philippines. She is advocating for reducing one's environmental impact through waste reduction, vegetarianism, and second hand purchase.

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