A Fearless Return: Overcoming Concerns as the World Reopens after the Pandemic
The fear, anxiety and stress caused by COVID-19 is affecting people mentally as well as physically. In studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic.
Many adults also noted that from worry and stress over the coronavirus has caused specific negative impacts on their health and well-being, including worsening chronic conditions.
Marissa Leslie, MD, Medical Director of Psychiatry for the Adventist HealthCare system, offers these tips for overcoming fear of COVID-19 as the world begins to reopen.
Gently return to socializing
Social distance with friends and family to reconnect and regain human contact.
Dr. Leslie mentions that everyone needs human connection. Being shut off from loved ones can hurt our psyche, which ultimately feeds into the fear and anxiety of resuming our lives. “Everyone can benefit from a reset as the restrictions lessen. Take time to reassess what is important to you.”
“Life now and in the future may look a little different, but it doesn’t always have to be worse,” she adds.
Turn to faith
“Faith is the bridge from fear to strength,” says Dr. Leslie. Faith can be a powerful force and can get you through tough times, including added stress and anxiety over COVID-19.
Beverly, a patient at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, attributes her recovery from COVID-19 to her faith, as well as the faith-based care at the hospital. What started as such a frightening time turned into a positive life-altering experience because of the support she received during her hospital stay.
“I refer to them as my guardian angels,” she says of her care team at White Oak. “They were always really encouraging and I have never met nurses that were quite like them.” Her experience with COVID-19 strengthened her faith, she says. “I can’t be fearful if I am going to say that I have faith, because faith and fear can’t live in the same place.”
Other Fear-Fighting Strategies
Dr. Leslie also suggests:
- Seek reliable scientific sources to learn safe ways to resume activities.
- Increase your exercise to help release any anxiety.
- Relax. Study techniques such as meditation, mindful exercise or massage.
While everyone wants to see COVID-19 in the rear view, there will be lingering aftereffects. Learning ways to overcome your fear will ease your mind and enhance your overall well-being. It’s time to embrace the new normal.