Managing Anxiety When You’re Worried About Your Health

Would you consider yourself a germaphobe? These days, more and more people are feeling anxious about illness, and that’s a valid concern. Before COVID-19, it might have been unusual to see people wearing masks at a grocery store or gloves to fill up their cars with gas, but it has become more and more normal now. 

During an event like this, anxiety over your family’s health might be increased, but it doesn’t have to stop you from thriving. With awareness and planning you can minimize your anxieties and keep your family safe. 

Even while these events are very unusual, anxiety is a natural part of life. It’s important to understand it  in order to overcome the feelings it causes. It’s defined as an inner state of turmoil that is accompanied by physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, tension and sleeplessness. 

There are things that trigger it, and they are different in every person. Sometimes, people avoid these things in order to prevent anxiety altogether, but other times it’s difficult to avoid entirely. When you can’t avoid triggers to your anxious feelings, there are ways to work through your feelings in order to stay healthy. 

Limit exposure to triggers. For example, if reading the news makes you feel anxious but you want to stay informed, set aside a short window of time in your day to catch up. 

Try mindfulness and breathing exercises. Staying present in the moment helps anxiety because it gets our mind off of future possibilities. There are easy ways to start learning about mindfulness at home, even apps that you can use on your phone!

Take good care of your body. Eating healthy meals and sleeping well will help your brain function at its best, keeping anxieties at bay. Exercise can also release endorphins in your brain, which are proven to fight anxiety’s ill effects on the mind. 

Be proactive. While we can sometimes feel helpless to change world events, we can all take measures to help each other. Some people have volunteered, others have focused on making the most of the time with their family, and others continue to work on the front lines to keep our food production secure. The Red Cross has offered up a free course for Mental Health First Aid, that would be of help to anyone who is looking to help others, and themselves, in this time. 

Resources

Centers for Disease Control – Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19