When the world was relieving from the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new Omicron variant has left everyone worried about another epidemic. Some scientists say that the current vaccination may not affect this new variant.
Things changed very quickly since the new COVID variant Omicron was first identified in South Africa in late November. It started as the reintroduction of wearing mask rules and restrictions on traveling progressed to work from home. If you are looking forward to a holiday with fewer restrictions than last year, this new variant-induced anxiety may be rearing its ugly face. We all are wondering how it can affect our family or us as we are ready to move into a new year.
The outburst of COVID-19 in late 2019 has made people feel traumatized and vulnerable, and this new variant is like a trigger for that trauma. Some are exhausted by the constant threat of COVID. But others are triggered and anxious about the prospect of reliving the lockdown days of 2020.
How can I recognize my anxiety?
The feeling of anxiety varies according to how they experience it. It can range from tingling in the stomach to increased heart rate. You may feel out of control or disconnected between your body and mind.
People with anxiety might experience nightmares, painful thoughts, and even panic attacks that you cannot control. Common anxiety symptoms include restlessness, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, or trouble concentrating.
When you notice these symptoms, talk to your family, friends, or the experts about their possible condition and proper treatment.
What are the Causes of Anxiety?
Causes of anxiety are a bit complicated. No researchers are sure about its specific reasons. It can be due to environmental factors or some abnormal functioning in the brain. there are no particular causes of anxiety, but the common causes may include:
- Family history
- health issues
- stressful situations
- a habit of consuming alcohol
- Hormonal factors
When to See a Doctor?
It is not easy to tell when anxiety is not always a severe medical condition versus a lousy day causing you to feel worried. If you do not get proper medication or treatment at the correct time, your anxiety could get worse with time. Treating your anxiety or other medical conditions is more manageable early than getting worse.
When you feel that you are worrying so much that it starts interfering with your daily lives or anxiety or fear is distressing you hard to control, it is a sign to consult a doctor immediately. Some people experience suicidal thoughts or perform suicidal behaviors, so these persons should directly concern an expert for quick treatment.
How can I diagnose and treat my anxiety?
There is no specific test to diagnose your anxiety. Your health care professional will perform mental health screening to diagnose the cause. It includes questions about your symptoms or how long you had them. They can also recommend you to a mental health expert such as a psychiatrist if necessary. They are specialized in the diagnosis and treating cognitive conditions.
Anxiety and mild anxiety causes fear, but it is not a mental illness. It does not need any severe treatment. So, the treatment can vary according to your condition and severity of symptoms. Your treatment can include medications, therapy, or psychological treatment.
Psychological treatments include:
CBT: a talk therapy that teaches people a different way to think, behave, or react to specific situations. It also helps individuals to identify, neutralize, or challenge distorted thoughts.
Exposure therapy: helps people confront fear for participating in activities they are avoiding. In simpler terms, it makes them confident in facing other people or situations.
There are several medications and antidepressants available that can cure and relieve anxiety symptoms.
- Antidepressants improve the way your brain uses chemicals that control stress and mood.
- Beta-blockers relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking, rapid heart rate, blushing, or trembling.
- Anti Anxiety medications help to reduce the symptoms of panic attacks, anxiety, or extreme fear and worry.
Tips for coping up with anxiety during Omicron?
Are you struggling with the news anxiety regarding the rise of the new Omicron variant? These tips from the experts will help you to cope with stress.
Identify your emotional trigger.
A trigger causes an emotional response. It is something that we cannot control like a toddler screaming, the end of a relationship, or the death of a loved one. Are news stories with panic headlines triggering your anxiety?
While knowing the latest safety guidelines is necessary, you do not need to spend hours consuming articles, TV shows, podcasts, or videos that tell you the same things. Instead of all these, read a newsletter from a reputed organization that gives you essential highlights once a day.
Knowing your triggers helps to see them for what they are, so you can carefully manage the things that stress you out.
Focus on the present moment
It is pretty tricky, but the more you can shift your attention away from future threats onto the present moment, you will feel a lot calmer and regain a sense of control. In simpler terms, try to focus on what is happening right now at the moment.
It is challenging for people when there is so much information around them, and there is so much worry and concern about what will happen in the future.
But you can try and focus on what is important now and what is happening now. It is pretty tricky, but it’s about controlling the controllable.
Just because the current situation is unprecedented, that doesn’t mean you cannot rely on your usual coping mechanism to keep yourself healthy. You can still perform the exact strategies to manage the mental health that you do before the pandemic. It includes doing regular exercises, eating well, getting enough sleep, and most importantly, maintaining social contact with your loved ones.
Try to take part in relaxing activities that can boost your well-being first. It will help you get outside your anxiety and help you feel like yourself. If you are feeling anxious or worried, practice some self-care with whatever helps you, such as having a long bath, going for a walk, etc. It will reset your anxious mind.
Try to avoid negative thoughts.
It is easy to let your thoughts run away from you when you feel stressed or worried. But thinking about the worst-case scenario will only make you feel ten times worse. Try to reframe your thoughts to gain some vital perspective that makes a real difference.
To calm the mind, all you can do is stop and remind yourself that there is nothing you can do to control things. Acceptance is the key to helping people take a mindful attitude about what they can do. So they can accept this situation and cope with whatever is going on at the time.
When you worry a lot, your mind fluctuates between the past and the future, and your present struggles at that moment. So, the best way to help yourself is to enjoy the present moment and banish all the worries and negative thoughts. You can use attention training techniques or ask yourself what you can hear, see, feel, smell, or taste.