12 Ways Therapists Personally Deal With COVID Anxiety (Again)

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, we asked mental health therapists and other GPs to share coping mechanisms to deal with our strange new normal and growing anxiety about coronavirus.

Now the world (somehow) is reaching the almost two-year mark of the pandemic, and we are calling on them again. As news of the omicron variant continues to come out, we could use any therapeutic advice we can get to lessen our worries.

Below, GPs across the country tell how they deal with so much insecurity and the techniques they personally use when worrying about COVID getting bad again.

I remind myself that this is not my first COVID rodeo.

“In times like these, I remind myself: I’m not a professional at living through a pandemic, but I’m not a novice either. I remind myself that I can take precautions and maintain the way I have been for over a year. I can do the best I can. My best is enough. ” Akua Boateng, a psychotherapist in Philadelphia

I practice gratitude.

“It’s always helpful to focus on what we can control, but focusing on what we’re grateful for is transformative. Practicing gratitude always helps my anxious worries to melt away. When the world feels insecure, I physically love to write down on paper all the things I’m grateful for that come up, no matter how big or small.This little gratitude exercise helps me move my thinking away from ‘powerless’ to ‘mighty’, from feeling like a victim to feel like a victor. (As a mental health professional, I know that gratitude recreates our brain’s thought patterns for the better!) And in those moments when my mind seems to want to cling extra hard to anxiety, I take the opportunity to call to a friend and share what’s on my mind. Connecting with another human being for a little compassion and empathy is always a good idea! ” – Therese Mascardo, psychologist and founder of Exploring Therapy

I let myself process all my feelings about COVID: the good, the bad and the ugly.

“I allow myself to mention and experience the wide range of emotions that stem from the current pandemic and new variant; these feelings range from sadness, anger, helplessness to hope. I let these feelings run through me and also share my thoughts and feelings with my support system of family and friends. This reminds me that I am not alone in what I am experiencing. “-Alyssa Mancao, a licensed clinical social worker in Los Angeles

“I practice regular self-validation and self-compassion, which means that I allow and accept the emotions that show with kindness, and without letting self-judgment and self-criticism prevail. Emphasis on ‘exercise’ here, not perfection. At the end of the day, we are all people going through a shared traumatic experience together. I give myself space to take time for myself, consider what I am capable of, workload (aware that I have the privilege of doing so), and recalibrate and adjust as these times change. “- Brooke Huminski, a psychotherapist in Providence, Rhode Island

I limit the amount of COVID news I consume.

“What helps me deal with my COVID anxiety is setting boundaries and boundaries around the information I ingest. It can only seem like watching the news for 10 minutes a day and not constantly updating my feeds. It’s also helpful. to set boundaries with friends and family in terms of sharing news, deaths, and other information that may affect my mood. articles especially create more anxiety for me. “Especially since we all control a climate where there are so many opinions and an influx of false information that is spread, it is important to filter what you consume and set boundaries.” – Aaliyah Nurideen, a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey

"[I]    set boundaries and boundaries around the information I ingest," a social worker tells HuffPost. "It can only seem like watching the news for 10 minutes a day and not constantly updating my feeds."

South_agency via Getty Images

“[I] set boundaries and boundaries around the information I ingest, “a social worker tells HuffPost.” It can only seem like watching the news for 10 minutes a day and not constantly updating my feeds. “

I ground myself in nature.

“Although all I want to do after a long day of sessions is collapse on my couch and eat Cheez-Its, I force myself once or twice a week to the beach where I can stick my feet in the sand and listen to the waves. Take an evening walk or sit in my backyard and listen to the birds chirping. “- Jennifer Chappell Marsh, a marriage and family therapist in San Diego

With so much out of my control, I focus on what I am able to control.

“For me, the key to dealing with worries (whether it’s COVID or something else) is to make decisions about what I can actually control and then redirect my attention to what I’m actually doing with my time in the present. So for example, if there is concern about the latest COVID news, I may take some time to decide if I want to update any personal decisions I have made about activities or precautions in my life related to COVID. things (staying too long in decision-making mode is bad for anxiety), and then I try not to analyze questions that I can not actually answer, such as “When will it end?” or ‘Do I get COVID?’ These questions are impossible to answer with certainty, so instead of trying to remove the uncertainty, I allow the uncertainty to exist and redirect my attention to the activity I am actually doing with my time at that moment. described, awareness and acceptance of uncertainty, which are documented effective strategies for anxiety and worry. ” – Michael Stein, a Denver psychologist specializing in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder

“By struggling with my own COVID anxiety, I have worked to more actively accept insecurity. It means recognizing when things are out of my control, and gently encouraging myself to let go of any attempts I make to control these. At the same time, I’m also aware of the things that are still within my control – even if they feel small.We all make several decisions during the day – from what we eat, to what we wear, to whom we interact with – and reminding myself that I have choices in all these things helps me stay connected to my sense of freedom of action in the world and my own capacity as a human being. ” – Madison McCullough, a psychotherapist in New York City

I try to meditate every day.

“I’m committed to a morning and evening meditation practice. Even though I only have five minutes, it really gives me reason when I go into day and night. Insight Timer is a great free app that provides a variety of meditations to meet your personal needs. “- Aimee Martinez, a psychologist in Los Angeles

I’m not trying to overdo it.

“I’m a psychologist and a human being: I have to fight the immediate rush of emotions when I see the news stories involving losses, the politicization of the virus and the vaccine, and ‘business as usual’ even in crisis situations. What has helped me over the last 19 months is figuring out what is in place of my control: that is, how can I not take the blame for national events and focus more on what is more nearby for me? For example, just because I do an interview calling for vaccinations on CNN does not mean I should see an increase in appointments the next day. What I able to however, is to check in on the one person I had a conversation with about vaccinations, to see how I can support their decision with evidence and love. But sometimes even checking in [on] other people can be a great source of frustration. That means I limit my locus to myself: Do I wear a mask? Am I sleeping and eating right? Have I sent loving messages to those around me? Just the seemingly small ticks can reduce the anxiety I have for exposure, increased risk or to support my loved ones. “- Riana Elyse Andersen, a psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

Vera Livchak via Getty Images

“I have committed to a morning and evening meditation practice,” says a social worker. “Even if I only have five minutes, it really gives me reason when I go into day and night.”

I practice radical acceptance.

“Right now I’m practicing radical acceptance (an emergency tolerance skill). I have accepted the uncertainty of the situation, which does not mean that I like it or want it, but means that I have chosen to say to myself, ‘It’s just what it is and I can not control this situation. I focus on what I can control. ‘ I focus on having a relaxing morning routine and doing things that relieve stress every day. ” – Rebecca Leslie, a psychologist in Atlanta

I lean on my hobbies.

“Arkansas is a COVID hot spot, so my COVID policies are self-care via masking, doing telecommuting sessions with clients only, getting vaccinated and only going out when needed, even though I walk in nature for an hour a day with my dogs. “To be challenged, I learn two new hobbies – knitting and woodworking. The bottom line is there is a lot of lemonade that can be made from pandemic lemons.” – Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas, and co-host of “Curly Girls Relationship Show

I seek harmony.

“When COVID became a thing, my big focus was on creating balance in my life. I worked hard to balance being a good therapist, being my most present self towards my two young children, being a listening ear to my medical colleagues working in the front line, being an anchor for my extended family while mourning the loss of several families members and friends and took the baton from my husband as he took on the majority of pandemic parenting. This time I am looking for harmony. I strive to live in the flow of my life by establishing routines, allowing myself not to follow routines, creating structures in my life, and giving myself space to move within those structures. Less abstract, I listen more to what I need to be there for others. I also accept the limitations of my expertise. I am not here to find balance in all the many responsibilities and goals I have. I’m here to live my life to the fullest, which means living in the flow of the good, bad and blah days. “- Dana Crawford, a psychologist and cultural bias consultant in New York City

I remind myself that I do everything I can to be safe.

“When I start to feel anxious, as we all do – often triggered by something I heard in the news, or a message from my child’s school about another infection – I fall back on cognitive behavioral tools. I remind myself of the statistics. with this virus.Despite the high rate of infection and the virulence of delta virus, the death rate is still low.I remind myself that I do everything I can do by following the doctor’s advice.I choose to put the rest of My concern on a shelf.I also choose to enjoy this present moment and not let my fears steal it from me.I will often repeat this to myself a few times, add some deep breaths and distract myself with a healthier thought, and I’m on my way again. ” – Zoe Shaw, a psychotherapist, relationship coach and author of “A Year of Self-Care”

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