It is natural to experience stress and worry during this pandemic we find ourselves in. However, you might be asking yourself if there is a difference between “normal” worry and health anxiety. How can you tell if your worry is turning into a more serious disorder?
But what is health anxiety?
Simply put, health anxiety is an abundance of fear and worry about body functions and body pain. One sign of health anxiety is almost constantly worrying about breathing properly or determining if your heart is beating at a regular or escalated rate. Other symptoms of health anxiety can be picking a physical feature or blemish to obsess over. It is also common for those who struggle with health anxiety to worry about getting rare diseases or an illness they hear about on the news. People who have health anxiety frequently seek reassurance from doctors and ask for medical tests.
Health Anxiety and COVID-19:
Living during a pandemic can cause those with health anxiety to feel even more anxious because all we hear about on the news is the coronavirus. Health anxiety while sheltering place/social distancing may look like constantly checking yourself for symptoms even when you know you have not been exposed to the virus. Another sign of health anxiety is only consuming media about the coronavirus to reassure yourself that you do not have symptoms. If the fear about getting sick or staying healthy disrupts your daily functioning, then you may be dealing with health anxiety instead of worry and stress.
How much stress is expected during a pandemic?
Due to COVID-19, our lives feel very uncertain. Even in more ordinary times, experiencing stress is normal. It also makes sense to feel anxious when things are especially challenging. Getting through a crisis of this scale is challenging for anyone. Be gentle with yourself and respect how you are feeling. It is easy to get caught up in your feelings, but it is important to remember that all feelings pass. I like to think of emotions like a wave. At times, our stress and sadness will escalate when we watch the news or read about new signs of the virus. At other times negative feelings will fall away when we do something enjoyable or connect with friends or family. Visualizing riding out the wave can help you remember that even negative feelings will pass.
Managing Stress and Anxiety:
Whether you have a high or slightly more manageable level of stress right now, there are things you can do at home to reduce time spent worrying:
- Stay active! Exercise is a great way to work out some stress and worry. You can try some online exercise classes or walk a lap around your neighborhood.
- Be kind to yourself. Make time to do something nice for you like at-home facial, make a tasty treat, or practice other forms of self-care.
- Distracting activities. Revisit that hobby you never seemed to have time for before. Listen to a new podcast or give yourself a challenge by starting a puzzle or crossword.
- Connect with your support system. We have all this technology at our fingertips that can help us stay in touch with friends and family. Reach out to those who are close to you; they might need some extra support too.
- Limit media use. If reading or watching the news is becoming triggering, create a time limit for how long you read or watch news about the virus. You can stay informed but try not to overwhelm yourself with bad news.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts and feelings about the coronavirus or sheltering in place, a counselor can help you find additional strategies to manage your fears and worry. The counselors at Wellview Counseling can work with clients throughout Georgia via online counseling. Please call or email Wellview Counseling if you have more questions about health anxiety, managing stress, or seeking additional support.
Begin Online Therapy in Georgia
If you are struggling with overwhelming worry, stress, or anxiety symptoms during the Coronavirus pandemic, we can help. Our therapists are trained to provide high-quality online therapy for anxiety in Georgia. To get started, please follow these steps:
- Contact Wellview counseling and make an appointment for a free consultation to learn more about online therapy
- Meet with a compassionate online therapist,
- Begin online therapy in Georgia for anxiety and regain control over your anxious thoughts.
Other Services Offered at Wellview Counseling
Wellview Counseling is a Rosewell GA therapy clinic that offers a variety of mental health services to help you or your loved ones find healing and growth. The talented therapists at Wellview offer play therapy, child counseling, individual counseling, social skills groups for kids, therapy for postpartum anxiety and depression, trauma and PTSD treatment, chronic illness counseling, family therapy, and positive discipline parent education opportunities. At the moment, we are practicing social distancing and offering all our services online. Contact our Rosewell, GA mental health clinic to learn more about the many ways the counselors at Wellview Counseling can help your whole family during online therapy.
About the Author: Ashley Bobo, LCSW
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