Loss has impacted us all over the past year. Whether you lost a loved one, your job, your home, or your sense of normalcy, we all dealt with disappointments, changes, and grief. As a result, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues have been on the rise. To help you move through this next season, we’ve compiled some information and tips for dealing with post-pandemic anxiety.
Post-pandemic anxiety is not limited to the United States. Across the globe, people are experiencing a rise in mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. Gallup reports that 7 in 10 people globally are struggling or suffering in their lives.
While we are not yet beyond the pandemic, post-pandemic anxiety and other issues will continue to emerge for months and possibly years. Mental health professionals are just beginning to record their findings and make recommendations to boost our emotional wellbeing. Early studies from China are providing valuable information for other countries.
For example, a study of nurses in China exposed to COVID-19 found a PTSD incidence of 16.8%. Findings also indicate that, across the globe, healthcare workers are experiencing higher levels of mental health related illness, followed closely by those who suffered from COVID.
Additionally, the world population at large has experienced a degree of trauma and subsequent post-pandemic anxiety. This chart by the CDC highlights the impact on mental health during the pandemic and the likelihood of residual impact going forward.
As we move forward, here are some suggestions for handling post-pandemic anxiety.
Acknowledge your emotions
Don’t sweep your feelings under the rug. Notice your emotions, give them a name, and don’t judge yourself for what you’re experiencing. It’s easy to get caught up in feeling either “good” or “bad,” but your emotions exist on more of a spectrum and will likely change from day to day or even within the day itself. Expect this normal ebb and flow of emotions as you navigate post-pandemic anxiety.
Develop go-to coping strategies
When you recognize you’re struggling with post-pandemic anxiety, have one or two go-to strategies to help you cope. Some examples are writing in a journal, watching funny videos, meditating, practicing deep breathing, or listening to music. All of these are effective ways to reduce stress and post-pandemic anxiety in a healthy way.
Make future plans
Disrupted plans have led to frustration and stress since the onset of the pandemic. As vaccination rates rise and the pandemic subsides, making plans for the future can help reduce post-pandemic anxiety. Plan a trip for 2022 with friends and family. Or make a list of things you want to adjust in your life after having time to evaluate your priorities and values. Having something to look forward to will help you feel more optimistic about the future.
Build your tribe
Surround yourself with a strong support system. Spend time with the people your love by carving out time for the people and things that matter most. Be honest when you’re struggling and accept help from others. Building a strong tribe will help you navigate post-pandemic anxiety more effectively.
No matter how you’ve fared through this season of life, be aware of how post-pandemic anxiety may be impacting you. Consider experimenting with one of our recommendations to navigate a post-pandemic world just a little bit better.