Coronavirus Anxiety: Tips on how to cope

4 minute read |

Author 28.06.2022

Esme Davies

Since the Covid-19 outbreak in 2019 and the various lockdowns that followed, it's taken society a lot time to adapt to living with the coronavirus.

Two years on, the road ahead is looking more hopeful. Schools, shops, businesses, hospitality and even entertainment have reopened, and society has started returning to normal.

However, coronavirus anxiety is stopping many people from returning to their normal way of life.

In this blog, we'll discuss the impact of coronavirus anxiety and offer some advice in order to help you return to normal life.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Covid-19 has been part of our lives now for over 2 years, but the anxiety is still there for a lot of people. 
  • Whether you’re worried about getting the virus due to your own health situation, or passing it on to others, the unknown consequences of carrying the virus can be unnerving.
  • Though many people have moved on from anxieties that occurred in the height of the pandemic and the various lockdowns, others may still be taking precautions to stop the spread of the illness. 
  • We share some helpful tips and advice for overcoming coronavirus anxiety as well as helping people to understand your feelings.
covid anxiety strikes

What is coronavirus anxiety?

After being told to ‘stay at home’ for over a year, it might seem like a scary prospect to be expected to go out again. 

Similarly, after potentially spending the pandemic alone or with a small bubble for socialising, exercise and support, it is understandable why some people will be feeling anxious about coming into contact with lots of people again. 

Worrying about getting the virus, giving it to someone, losing work. These are just some of the things that coronavirus anxiety can make us feel. 

Coronavirus has brought a lot of uncertainty which is beyond our control. This is the perfect place for feelings of anxiety to take hold. 

It is OK to feel like this occasionally, but if anxiety is stopping you from living your life it is important to talk to someone about it. 

Ways to manage coronavirus anxiety

Talk to someone

  • Chat to friends and family– Friends, neighbours, family members and support groups can provide invaluable support, just by listening. 
  • Reach out– If you’re feeling worried, it is important to reach out. If none of these are an option for you, there are plenty of community resources too, eg. Nightline  or Anxiety UK.

Look after your brain and body

  • Prioritise your well being– Just getting up, properly dressed, brushing your teeth, having a shower and getting some good food. These things can do wonders for your mind, even if you’re not feeling great. Anxiety and depression makes it hard to do these things, but set yourself small goals and you’ll be on the road to feeling better in no time.
  • Go outside– With restrictions lifting slowly it is possible to get out of the house for more than an hour’s exercise. So get out and embrace the great outdoors. Whether it’s through a walk to the shop, round the park or out in the countryside. 
  • Try a mindful activity– You could try one of these activities such as a walk in the park, listen to music, cook a nice meal, reach out to old friends, try a new hobby such as sewing or language skills. 
  • Essential Oils- These natural oils have wonderful aromas that promote calm. They can be used in the home, in cleaning products, and in your beauty regime. Our blog Essential Oils for Anxiety has all the information you need.  
exercise is important
  • Exercise– Love it or hate it, exercise is also a great way to stay fit and mobile as well as boosting your immune system. If you’re not a big fan, that’s ok! Start slow with an activity such as yoga, pilates or a gentle walk.
  • Natural supplements– These can provide a beneficial alternative for anything that affects the mind or body. Whether it’s for your brain, your bones, or your organs, natural supplements can boost wellbeing. One that we love in CBD Oil, which can relieve symptoms of anxiety and promote relaxation and better sleep. Check out our blog on Best CBD Oil for Anxiety for more information on how to get started.
  • Meditation or Mindfulness– Mindfulness can range from a slow activity such as yoga to taking some time out to meditate. Check out our blog on Meditation for seniors for more information.
  • Maintain a routine– While the world has changed in ways that we can’t control, one thing you can do is create some order for yourself in your day to day routine. 
  • Don’t self medicate– Be aware of your relationship with alcohol. If drinking too much is a problem for you, try and avoid using it as a release.
  • Be kind to yourself– Remember that everyone struggles sometimes, and that you’re not alone.

Managing coronavirus anxiety outside of the home

Everyone around the world, regardless of their age, has had to go without many things since the pandemic hit. Whether it’s visiting family, eating out, travelling or attending religious or community groups and events, it is important to remember that all these activities are still possible. 

As we begin to understand the Covid-19 virus, we must now adapt our behaviours to this new situation. Doing this will slow transmission of the virus and allow everyone to safely carry on with their normal lives.

With shops, hospitality and leisure and entertainment facilities starting to reopen, you may feel worried about using facilities and being in places outside of your home. 

It is perfectly normal to feel a little bit of anticipation at the relaxing of some rules, however if you find yourself experiencing abnormal or panic-like symptoms, you should talk to a relative or medical professional, as you may be suffering from anxiety or panic disorder. 

Here are some practical ways to stay safe when out and about as well as managing your coronavirus anxiety:  

Focus on the things that you can control– for example, when leaving the house, always check that you have your: 

  • Face mask, covering or visor. Alternatively, if you are exempt from wearing a mask, don’t forget to wear your lanyard. 
  • Hand sanitiser. A good hand sanitizer  contains 60-70% alcohol. The best types are quick drying and won’t cause your hands to feel sticky or slimy. 
  • Disposable gloves. These are a good option if sanitiser is not available to you. If you have sensitive skin, gloves can help protect your skin from sanitizer while still allowing you to sanitise safely in shops. However, disposable plastic or rubber gloves do create a lot of waste, and should only be used if absolutely necessary, as they are not environmentally friendly.  
reduce stimulates to help dementia sundowning

Socialising in cafes and bars

Many of us are looking forward to visiting our favourite cafe’s, bars and restaurants for a proper meal out again. 

Hospitality venues are working hard to ensure they are covid safe, so you can visit in confidence. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is learning the ropes and getting used to the new situation, so be patient.

Here are some of the measures you can expect to see in place.

  • Reduced capacity to allow for social distancing– This means that less people will be able to attend at any one time. It might mean you have to wait longer for a table, or may not be able to get one at all! To avoid this, book your outings in advance.
  • Sanitiser stations– You will be asked to sanitize on entry so make sure you follow the rules or provide your own sanitiser and use it when entering places and when asked.  
  • Masks used by staff and when moving around– Staff are working hard to keep you safe so they will be wearing masks. This can cause some communication difficulties, so again, be patient and don’t be afraid to ask again if you need to. You will also need to wear a mask or visor (unless you are exempt) when arriving at places and also using the facilities there, so don’t forget it!

Seeing friends and family

  • Stay outside– Even though we are now allowed to sit inside other people’s houses, one way to combat any anxiety is to visit people outside, either in gardens or outdoor spaces.
  • Wear a mask– If it makes you feel more comfortable keep your mask on.
  • Hugging– Let people know if you are comfortable with hugging or not. This will avoid any awkward moments! 
loneliness and the brain

What to do if someone is making you feel uncomfortable in public

As society attempts to return to business as usual, there are bound to be moments when people and their ideas of what is right or wrong clash.

If someone is behaving in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable when you are out, don’t get angry or panicked. 

Stay calm and politely ask the person to respect social distancing.

Coronavirus anxiety and age

While the pandemic has certainly left its mark on society, it has highlighted a number of areas, such as senior wellbeing, that have, for a long time, been neglected. 

As an older person it is easy to feel targeted by the pandemic, as well as the news and information being produced as a result of it. 

If you’re feeling isolated there are some things you can do to stay connected.

  • Prioritise friends and family– Whether it’s through phone calls, video chats or socially distanced walks, seeing friends and family is a wonderful antidote to feelings of isolation. 
  • Social Media is good in small doses– There are myriad ways to get online through apps and websites. Whether they help you stay in touch with people or provide a platform for interesting information. 
  • Find local groups in your area– Local groups provide wonderful insight into your community and can be invaluable in combating isolation, at any time, but especially during Covid-19. 
  • Help others– This has been a hard time for many people. Donate to your local food bank or volunteer for a charity. You can also provide help and support to people around you by being a good listener. 

In summary

  • Covid-19 has changed the world in ways we could have never imagined. Now we are living in a big adjustment period which we are still getting used to. 
  • Because of this, it’s no surprise that anxiety conditions are on the rise and can cause you to feel out of control
  • But the most important thing you can do is to stay safe and try to maintain a positive attitude. This too shall pass!

Author 28.06.2022

Esme Davies

Esme Davies is Sweet Pea’s Marketing and Customer Success Manager with an extensive knowledge of the issues affecting older people and their families. As one of the senior members of the Editorial Team, Esme crafts articles, guides and marketing campaigns to engage people on the importance of preparing for later life and to educate audiences on the most pressing health, care and finance topics affecting the older generation.