Most of us have been able to sense the anxiety around us. Sneezing, coughing, no masks or no sanitizers are making us uneasy all over again. March and April seem to be the months of doom. If you’re saying “Stop! I haven’t been able to cope with last March, stop throwing more stressors at me again.” Honestly, same.
Having to deal with the uncertainty in 2020 was bad. But 2021 feels like a repeat. And the fact that this time around, we know what’s coming, how we might feel and what’s going to happen, but we are still uncertain about it, this only adds to our anxiety. If we think about it, anxiety is nothing more than thinking about everything we might never find answers to… until it actually happens. So, the lockdown and curfews don’t help us mentally. We are overthinking, catastrophizing and seem to be back to square one.
But here’s a secret: most of this anxiety is coming from not feeling in control.
What does that mean? It means everything around us is moving really fast, none of which we can control. There’s a lockdown, then there’s a rise in the number of cases, suddenly no one is allowed to visit us and there are more restrictions. These seem to directly affect us and change the course of our lives for us. It’s almost overwhelming to settle back into the uncertainty and say “okay, you know what? I’ve done this once and I can do this again.” Only because we know how much of our effort and courage went into feeling mentally and physically okay in those times.
If we are aware that this overwhelming feeling is coming from not being in control, take control. Even if that is just one activity in the day where you feel completely in control, do it. This does not even have to mean that you have to do that one activity everyday. If you decide to not do it on one day, it’s still you who decided to not to… so technically you are still in control (wink, wink).
The vaccine might just add to the stress. It’s hard to not generalise in these times. The virus has, in itself, caused so much stress that the vaccine might also make you anxious – and that’s okay. If it is something you worry and unsure about, please do talk to someone and express your concerns. Discussions might also help you take on new perspectives.
There’s a lot of information out there – the news, social media, all the calls bearing scary news. We might need to set boundaries all over again. If it is something that is affecting you, remember that your wellness comes above that. Even if that means not engaging in calls that would make you feel worse once you disconnect.
We might also be back to spending more time on social media or texting because that’s what we can do now in order to communicate. But don’t forget to have conversations, express more than just texts, and have Netflix parties whenever possible. Communication with the right people helps! Pick up the phone and call your friends who you feel comfortable and genuine with and have long long talks. Video calls might just make them better.
2020 might have been stressful but it did teach us a lot. We went through extreme lows and then learnt to build ourselves up from there. This time, we know what to do. We are equipped with healthier coping strategies. We might already notice signs that our mental health might need attention and we might just start working on ourselves already… and that’s great!
We are still here and we are okay. I personally try to think of this as just a wave. Something we perceive as big and scary that will wash over us and make us feel refreshed once it’s over, till the sea is calm again. Like every other stressor in our lives, waves keep coming and we just always learn to float through them.