Anxiety is a quite common mental health disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) research established that 40 million adults in America (18 years old and older) suffer from this disorder. They claim that it can develop from a complex set of risk factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Due to the current global pandemic, COVID-19, many have been dealing with a stronger sense of anxiety; even people who hadn’t suffered from this disorder before this.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been posting plenty of information regarding Coronavirus and its effects on people. The stress from this disease can lead to anxiety, and the CDC has established that this outbreak can lead to: fear and worry for your own health and that of your loved ones, changes in your sleeping routine and eating habits, difficulty concentrating, chronic health problems getting worse, increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, and mental health conditions deteriorating.
On their website, the CDC has also posted certain coping mechanisms that may help your anxiety and any sort of negative feelings you are experiencing. Firstly, they suggest taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. They also suggest making time to unwind and take care of your body. Due to social distancing, it may not be easy to connect with other people, but you should find ways (Zoom meetings, FaceTime, texting, Facebook) to connect with the people you trust and share your concerns with them. And they make it clear that it is important to call your healthcare providers or continue any treatments if you feel like your mental health is decreasing.
Many mental health professionals have been offering their services and their advice through different platforms. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a great amount of resources on their website that are open to everyone who may need help in this time of crisis. Award-winning community mental health advocate, certified psychotherapist, life coach, and author Asha Tarry is one of those professionals who is offering words of advice to those in need. Her work has been used by other professionals in the United States, Asia, and Europe with partnerships through Thrive Global, an Arianna Huffington company that prevents employees from experiencing workplace burnout.
Tarry’s goal is to enlighten, educate, and create safe spaces for everyone to live more emotionally empowered and mentally resilient. This is something that people try to achieve throughout their life, might find difficult without the professional resources. It has been particularly hard for people to live emotionally empowered and mentally resilient during this pandemic. According to Asha Tarry, the first step is to “identify the things in our environment that we can control. Simultaneously, we can begin to surrender to the things that are outside of our control.”
Something we have always seen helpful, and Tarry stands by, is accepting each day as it comes “with gratitude for our present life, our loved ones who are still with us and the essential, nonmaterial things that matter to us, including love, patience, our minds and our abilities.” However, every person has their own coping mechanisms and deals with worry, fear, and stress in their personal and unique way. That is why Tarry remarks that it is important “to accept that every individual has their own way of adapting to uncertainty is one way to let go of things beyond your control.”
Tarry wants people to be able to look within themselves to find things that give them peace. Just like many other professionals, she points out, “Rest is just as vital to our health as sleep. This includes radically doing little to nothing in those times, including not working, not engaging in social justice issues if that overwhelms you at the time, and not making plans to do or go anywhere when you’re off.” And it is through these mindful practices that the certified psychotherapist believes anxiety will dissipate and let you experience a nonjudgmental awareness of what is going on around you.
COVID-19 has created anxiety and stress among people in a way that has pushed everyone to find newer coping mechanisms. Asha Tarry is one of the mental health professionals offering her help to those in need. It is through her experience that she is able to offer words of advice and different techniques to help manage your COVID-19 related anxiety and even disconnect from the news from time to time in order to rest your mind.