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9 Ways to Relieve Anxiety During COVID-19

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

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The ravages of Covid-19, the shortage of hospital beds and the government's changing policy measures have left many people in Hong Kong feeling confused, helpless, and anxious. While most people are worrying about food and anti-epidemic supplies, they are also very confused as to what to do after the diagnosis due to the mixed messages they received. As such, we need to pay attention to the people around us, especially the ones with higher risk of anxiety disorder, such as elderly or children.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders can affect a person's mind and behavior. Anxiety is designed to help people focus on the threat when the body is in danger so that they know where the danger is coming from and how to fight or flight.

Anxiety helps to build up the energy quickly so we can fight or flight, but it can lead to uncomfortable physical symptoms such as a racing heart, inability to concentrate, shaking, sweating, and trouble swallowing. These symptoms may feel scary, but they are not dangerous in the short term.

In the current situation, anxiety can lead to rumination, a sense of impending doom, a sense of helplessness, and being overwhelmed by the news, which can trigger even more anxiety. Some may wish to hide and avoid learning of any danger, or bury their head in the sand like an ostrich. Feeling nervous, irritable, and impatient can be part of anxiety. Other anxiety-related behaviors include pacing, space out, and feeling incompetence.

9 Tips to Ease Anxiety Symptoms

Here are nine tips to ease anxiety symptoms during this time:

1. Collection of information

Understanding fears and problems can reduce anxiety. Gather accurate, truthful information from reliable sources to gain a more rational understanding of situations, help solving problems, and increase a sense of control.

2. Create new routines

Create a new normal by doing something practical and enjoyable, so that you can be more resilient to disruption and change. Consciously create daily and weekly activity routines, such as starting your morning with a cup of tea, yoga, or breakfast. Other methods include making a list of projects you want to accomplish, reading inspiring books, and journaling your thoughts, hopes, emotions, and worries.

3. Keep the virtual connection

Reaching out to loved ones is important and can be done through phone calls, text messages, emails, and video calls. Good relationships can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as building solid friendships.

4. Develop self-care habits

Take some time each day to take care of yourself, such as taking a warm bath, listening to calm or uplifting music, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy food. Whether you work from home or away from home, these habits will help.

5. Be positive

Always be positive even when you are dealing with a bad situation. Remember, you need to have a different perspective because good and bad are often next to each other. As long as we deliberately seek out goodness, it will help us to be more hopeful and see the beauty in life's difficulties.

6. Exercise

Regular exercise helps to release endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals in the brain that make you feel calmer. Plus, even housekeeping, stretching, and yoga can help to reduce stress.

7. Meditation

Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises are great ways to release stress. Now is a great time to learn these methods and incorporate them into your daily routine.

8. Reflection

COVID-19 has enabled people to reflect on what really matters and express gratitude. When life returns to normal, do you want to go back to where you were before, or will you re-prioritize certain things in your life?

9. Reach out

If you feel lonely, don't be silent. Instead, you should contact a friend, family member, or professional counsellor. Remember, you are not alone. Many people feel the same way. If you convey your feelings and fears, and listen to others, this can help to reduce your anxiety and loneliness.

If needed, you can also reach out to a licensed psychology counsellor to help you understand the source of your anxiety disorder and arrange a tailor made program. Because anxiety affects not only your emotions, but also the mood of those who care about you. So it is best to face it with a positive attitude.

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