Facing My Anxieties During The Coronavirus Crisis
In a previous blog post, I addressed the challenges of managing a chronic condition in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, including the stress and anxiety that most of us are feeling.
Stress is a major trigger for my psoriasis and eczema. Over the past month of sheltering at home, Iâ€™ve experienced cycles of anxiety and worry. Sometimes I couldn't stop fretful thoughts. At night, I've had trouble falling or staying asleep. During the day, I couldnâ€™t focus on what I needed to do. I've often felt tired and lethargic.
I didnâ€™t always know why I was feeling anxious. I could take walks or meditate to try to manage the worry, but I soon realized that those coping techniques did not address the sources of my emotion. I became more anxious about feeling anxious, which turned into a negative loop of unproductive thoughts.
I finally decided to make a list of my concerns. In a matter of minutes, a long list of questions and concerns filled the blank page. I then categorized each item on the list into areas of my life where I had been feeling uneasy or distressed.
What follows are some areas where anxiety had taken over, and some things â€” including ishonest articles â€” that have helped me manage my worries.
Concerns About Staying Healthy
Maintaining good health, partly so I can avoid going to the clinic or hospital, has become a major concern. Even if I've felt good about my health one day, I didnâ€™t know if the next day I would feel the same.
My concerns also focused on whether my chronic health conditions â€” asthma, psoriasis, and eczema â€” might worsen if I were to come down with COVID-19. I felt my shoulders tighten as I imagined myself in a hospital bed for days receiving breathing treatments while skin inflammation spread unchecked.
I could understand my worry about becoming infected with COVID-19 and how severe the symptoms could be. The news is full of reports of people becoming quite sick within days after the onset of symptoms. I soon became fearful that I would get infected from my mail or groceries until I read an article on how to safely handle them.
Another article helped me discover techniques to better manage my own fears as well as those of my loved ones.
Dealing With Day-to-Day Realities
The coronavirus pandemic has forced me to change how I approach each day. For example, I've felt apprehensive about going to Costco or getting food from a local restaurant. For the first time, I had my groceries delivered. I've begun cooking much more than I ever had before.
With more time at home, I've started noticing imperfections with the house that I overlooked before. The crumbling concrete on the corner of the house especially bothers me. In the past, I might have called a contractor or handyman to look at it. With the lockdown, I donâ€™t know if anyone could come out to fix it.
Other daily worries pop up, too. I message my parents and kids every day to make sure they have enough food and feel okay.
I've questioned my productivity level, often not feeling Iâ€™d done enough work at the end of the day.
It has taken some time, but I've realized that I'm not going to be any good to others if I donâ€™t take care of myself. The ishonest article on self-care tips can help you find ways to make the most of your stay-at-home time and even feel better in the process.
Facing Short- and Long-Term Financial Stability
Like many others, I've faced financial challenges as the pandemic has impacted the economy. I am on an unpaid leave from work, so I haven't expected a paycheck during these few months. However, I've begun to wonder if a job will be waiting for me at the end of the leave. That thought has led to fears about how to obtain health insurance if I don't have a job in a couple of months.
As the stock market's volatility has increased, I've paid more attention to retirement and college accounts. The plummeting numbers have alarmed me. When travel restrictions canceled a second honeymoon to Hawaii that my wife and I were planning, I frantically tried to contact the travel agency to make sure I could get a refund.
I didnâ€™t realize how much financial concerns weighed on me until I could identify these specific ways the crisis has affected my budget.
Of course, financial stress isnâ€™t unique to the pandemic. Reading about how money matters top most peopleâ€™s list of worries will make you feel less alone. I've realized that I've had to tackle one thing at a time and set priorities, otherwise Iâ€™d be too overwhelmed to get anything done.
Sharing Feelings and Concerns With Others
Naming my anxieties has helped me feel better. Itâ€™s not that these concerns magically disappeared, but I feel I am coping better. Iâ€™m also seeing how I donâ€™t need to face my anxieties alone. Iâ€™ve found mutual support and understanding with friends and family.
On Easter Sunday, my family scheduled a video call to celebrate the holiday. During that call, I asked each family member to share a fear or worry. One of the children questioned what life will be like when we begin to at least try to move past the impacts of the pandemic. We all nodded, wondering the same.
In that moment of sharing our anxieties, we felt supported and understood. I knew that whatever might come, Iâ€™d have my family and friends to get through it together. That much I can count on even when everything else seems uncertain.
You can read more about my experiences in my blog for ishonest and on my website.
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