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Most of us thought that by 2022 we would be back to normal, and COVID-19 would surely be long gone. Meanwhile, cue the newest coronavirus variant Omicron and once again we are in the eye of the storm, flooded with Omicron anxiety.
All around us people we know are testing positive for COVID-19 and it feels like it’s just a matter of time before it catches up with us (if it hasn’t already). With this renewed uncertainty hitting at a time when we are already exhausted, it’s really hard to cope with the stress and anxiety.
The pandemic continues to knock down any attempts of routine and personal control, which has a profound impact on our mental health and well-being. The uncertainty can stimulate our amygdala, the fear center of the brain, and trigger feelings of fear, hypervigilance, and heightened anxiety.
After almost two years of worry and isolation, we feel eager to unpause our lives and plan without the dread of more bumps in the road. We want to feel safe to spend time with our loved ones, travel, go out with our friends, without putting ourselves and others at risk.
So, what can you do to endure this latest and seemingly never-ending wave of the pandemic, and Omicron anxiety?
5 Ways to Help You Cope With Omicron Anxiety
1. Check in with yourself
Throughout this turmoil of worrisome Omicron news, it’s important to take time to connect with your own emotions and thoughts. You may feel anxious, afraid, tired, irritated, or even apathetic. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel, every emotional reaction is valid, however, it can be helpful to identify and name your emotions.
Our emotions can affect our mood and the way we interact with those around us, so it’s important to do this self-screening and be aware of how it can affect our relations and well-being. Once you understand what you’re feeling it’s easier to set in motion ways to help you cope and feel more balanced.
2. Focus on what you can control
As we well know there’s a lot of unpredictability around the pandemic. All of a sudden things change, and we have to adjust our plans and expectations and adapt to new rules. So, you should concentrate your energy on the things you can control.
It can be helpful to understand the difference between what you can and cannot control and accept that. As you accept what is happening and what you can do about it, you open the door to new ways to express and experience your emotions and move closer towards feeling better. Pay attention to the positive and meaningful things in your life.
3. Find feel-good activities
Take time to do the things that make you feel good and explore new hobbies. You can ask your friends to recommend activities, shows to binge-watch, trendy podcasts to follow, or must-read books. Something enjoyable where you can focus your energy outside of work.
You can also dedicate time to help others, within your network or by volunteering. Research indicates that helping others generates positive feelings and has benefits to our mental health.
4. Connect with loved ones
It can be frustrating to make plans, get excited about them, only to have to cancel or postpone once again. However, we all understand how loneliness can hurt us and affect our mental health.
While most of us are feeling anxious and burned out, sometimes we feel as if we are in it alone. It’s important to stay close to your loved ones, even if it is through facetime or call, share your fears and concerns, and also expectations for the future. You will probably find that most people you know are going through the same issues as you.
5. Be kind to yourself
We just entered the third year of this pandemic. So, if you have been struggling with Omicron anxiety is perfectly understandable. So, don’t blame yourself for feeling bad. You feel anxious because Omicron is anxiety-inducing.
Start experimenting with different ways to cope with your anxiety. Keep in mind that you’ll experience ups and downs, it is a process that takes time and it is normal to have setbacks. Be patient and remember that anxiety can also be protective and motivate us to implement changes in our lives.
Online Therapy in Maryland
If you feel your anxiety about Omicron and the pandemic is getting harder to manage, you could benefit from talking to a mental health professional.
The lockdown periods opened up opportunities to explore online counseling and get the support you need from the safety of your home. Our therapists at New Connections Counseling Center are experienced in online therapy, as well as in-person therapy, and are ready to help you overcome these challenging times.