Anxiety has been part of our societal landscape for years, but fears surrounding COVID 19 have brought it to new levels. Even people who normally have low levels of anxiety are finding it hard to cope in recent weeks.
Health concerns and financial uncertainty are putting an even bigger strain on those who already suffer from anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD. Many of those in therapy have experienced an interruption in treatment directly related to the pandemic.
While anxiety can help us prepare and adapt to new situations, too much of it can be paralyzing. That’s why it’s vital to develop some solid coping skills to help you navigate daily life successfully. Here are some tips:
Seek out a Professional
Whether you have been in counseling for years or you’ve never set foot in a therapist’s office, now is a great time to look into remote options. Fears of community spread and new regulations may keep you from meeting face-to-face with a professional, but there are lots of online resources for support.
If you are insured and your insurer will pay for telehealth visits, this is an obvious place to start. A 20-minute zoom meeting or phone call with someone you can talk to openly can make a world of difference. There are paid options available too, including:
What to Do If You Can’t Afford to Pay for Therapy
Not everyone is lucky enough to have insurance coverage that will pay for therapy, nor do they have the funds to cover the expense out-of-pocket. Sadly, these are the folks that often need help the most. However, if you find yourself in this position, there are still some online resources to look into that may help.
- The Anxiety and Depression Association of America maintains a resource page of helpful videos for people of all ages along with techniques to help individuals cope with the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
- The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) has published a free 22-page resource and information guide to help patients navigate their options during the Coronavirus crisis. They also maintain a message board where peers can meet to discuss their concerns.
- 7 Cups provides individuals with volunteers who will listen and offer emotional support to individuals needing help. They also have lots of self-help resources and 24/7 chat rooms available. Teens can find help here as well.
- If an online support group is more your style, this list from verywellmind could be just what you need.
Can CBD Help?
Maybe! It is important to note that more controlled clinical trials are needed before any claims about CBD and anxiety can really be substantiated.
What we do know is that there is mounting anecdotal evidence to suggest it may be helpful and that according to the World Health Organization, CBD is generally well-tolerated among most healthy adults.
If you currently take medication to treat your anxiety (or anything else), it’s important to talk with your doctor about starting a daily CBD regimen, as the compound may not be appropriate combined with certain medications.
What About Meditation?
Although some people may scoff at the idea of meditation as an effective solution against anxiety, research has shown that it is indeed helpful. In 2019, researchers at John Hopkins combed through over 19,000 studies on meditation. Their findings, published in Jama Internal Medicine, suggest that not only does meditation help to ease symptoms of anxiety, but of pain and depression as well.
You don’t have to be a spiritual person or new-age guru to practice meditation, and beginners may find it offers relief by starting out with just a few minutes each day. What’s more, you’re not on your own, as there are plenty of free meditation apps available to help you get started. Headspace has compiled an excellent meditation resource for anyone experiencing distress due to the pandemic that can be found here.