Pandemic-Related Anxiety

How to Sup­port Your Loved Ones

As COVID-19 pan­dem­ic rates decline, many are return­ing to their pre-pan­dem­ic social life includ­ing work­ing from their company’s office or see­ing their friends and fam­i­ly for in-per­son activ­i­ties. While some are excit­ed to get back to their pre-pan­dem­ic social life, oth­ers are expe­ri­enc­ing ele­vat­ed anx­i­ety symptoms. 

Anx­i­ety is not so sur­pris­ing when you look at the big pic­ture of what we have all been through. Many peo­ple expe­ri­enced being iso­lat­ed from their peers at school, their co-work­ers and even avoid­ed usu­al­ly sought-after social places such as busy restau­rants, movie the­aters and malls. Some peo­ple also expe­ri­enced great loss­es dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Not only did some lose their loved ones to COVID-19, but some expe­ri­enced los­ing a job, their homes and even their close friends due to the strain COVID-19 put on relationships. 

There are two types of anx­i­ety to espe­cial­ly be on the look­out for – social anx­i­ety and health anx­i­ety. Social anx­i­ety is defined by intense fear in social sit­u­a­tions, avoid­ance of social sit­u­a­tions and fear of judge­ment from oth­ers. Health anx­i­ety on the oth­er hand is con­nect­ed to an intense fear of hav­ing or get­ting a dis­ease. COVID-19 anx­i­ety height­ed both as some began to view oth­ers as a threat due to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­tract­ing COVID-19. 

It is impor­tant to know the signs that your­self or a loved one is expe­ri­enc­ing anx­i­ety or depres­sion as we return to normalcy. 

Com­mon symp­toms for clin­i­cal depres­sion include: 

  • Brain fog or dif­fi­cul­ty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite, weight or sleep – this include over or under eating
  • Feel­ings of guilt, hope­less­ness, help­less­ness or worthlessness
  • Loss of inter­est – no longer find­ing inter­ests in things they once enjoyed
  • Low mood (which can be expe­ri­enced as sad­ness or apathy)
  • Sui­ci­dal ideation (in severe cases)

Com­mon symp­toms of an anx­i­ety dis­or­der include: 

  • Dif­fi­cul­ty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Gas­troin­testi­nal distress
  • Increased wor­ry and dif­fi­cul­ty con­trol­ling worries
  • Irri­tabil­i­ty
  • Nau­sea
  • Repet­i­tive neg­a­tive thoughts
  • Rest­less­ness
  • Short­ness of breath
  • Tight­ness in chest

If you notice these symp­toms in your loved one, it is impor­tant to do your research through rep­utable sources to help you under­stand why they are think­ing or feel­ing a cer­tain way. Con­sis­tent fol­low ups are anoth­er way to show your sup­port through reli­able actions. Reach­ing out or ask­ing for help can be one of the hard­est things for some­one to do when they are strug­gling. Make sure to ask if they want com­fort or solu­tions when they con­fide in you. Always be open ears to hear­ing how they real­ly are feel­ing and any con­cerns they have. Anoth­er great way to show sup­port is to val­i­date that this is indeed a dif­fi­cult time for every­one and that they are not alone.

Whether it is you or a loved one who is expe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health symp­toms, it is impor­tant to know the help and treat­ment options avail­able. There are both med­ica­tion and non-med­ica­tion approach­es. Non-med­ica­tion approach­es include uti­liz­ing con­nec­tions such as sup­port sys­tems, sup­port groups and men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als. Uti­liz­ing Nation­al Alliance on Men­tal Ill­ness (NAMI) can help bridge the gap if the per­son is hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty access­ing ther­a­py and oth­er men­tal health resources. 

Addi­tion­al tips for bet­ter­ing men­tal health include: 

  • Focus­ing on good self-care includ­ing nutri­tion, sleep, hydra­tion and exercise 
  • Reach­ing out to your pri­ma­ry care provider (if they do not already have a ther­a­pist or psy­chi­a­trist) for assistance/​referral
  • Call­ing your insur­ance com­pa­ny to find a provider for men­tal health services
  • Reach­ing out to your sup­port sys­tem (fam­i­ly, friends, church, etc.)

If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing more, click here to read about our Behav­ioral and Men­tal health services. 

  • I use a biopsychosocial approach to care, taking into consideration each person's biological, psychological, and social factors and their complex interactions to best understand the individual's health, illness, and treatment needs. I am dedicated to instilling hope in my clients while helping each client work towards being their personal best-emotionally, mentally, and physically through the use of individualized holistic, pharmacological, and psychotherapy treatment.

  • I strongly believe in the benefit of self exploration in a safe, understanding, and non-judgmental environment. I whole heartedly believe in the power of holistic health practices including nutrition, movement practices, nature, and meditation/mindfulness to engage a more integrated sense of well-being. My personal practice style is one of empowerment in that I never pretend to know better than you do about what you need, think, and feel. I aim to collaborate with you to help you achieve your therapy goals and live YOUR version of your best life. My clinical style is integrative with incorporation of DBT, ACT, and CBT principles to suit the needs of the individual and have been experienced by my clients as gentle yet direct.