"How do I help my clients who suffer from anxiety about the pandemic when I'm so anxious about it myself?" That question posed to me by a friend and fellow therapist (in one of those, "new normal" conversations by FaceTime) really hit home. As the sole caregiver to two family members who are considered "high risk," I agree that these times can definitely cause anxiety.
Anxiety can be described as worry or stress- usually about some future event. We all know what anxiety feels like. We usually feel it in our bodies somewhere, often before we're aware of the anxious thoughts. It's that pit in your stomach, the clenching of your teeth. I know my anxiety finds a home in my neck and shoulder area- and I can find myself hunching up my shoulders or holding my breath without thinking about it. That's how anxiety works: it finds a home in your body and lives there while you're going about your daily life.
So yes, we all know anxiety, right? Even the 'coolest" among us has had at least a few moments of anxiety in 2020, with the pandemic, fears about their own or their family's safety, financial worries due to lost wages, and the spike in the virus numbers now that we've tried to reopen. Add to all of that the social issues we're facing in our country with the strife communities of color are experiencing and the division caused by political differences and we have a perfect storm for anxiety to live in our collective body as a country.
How do we evict anxiety from its home in our heads and our bodies? Here are some thoughts: