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Mental Health

Dealing with Covid-19 Anxiety Almost 2 Years Later

As much as we may not want to think about it, Covid-19 is still alive and well. But with vaccinations and many lifted restrictions, we are getting closer to living “normal” lives. March 2020 seems like so long ago, and I know I am not the only one who still has some levels of anxiety when doing mundane things. 

You could say that my family took the pandemic very seriously. With a mother who is a nurse and an immunocompromised younger brother, we were extremely limited in the things we could do. I watched as my friends spent time together, and I used to feel so left out. But I understood the possible risks involved in going out and doing things with people. I watched as people I knew went out and caught Covid-19 a week later, and that scared me. The only places I was allowed to go were school and work. I am sure I am not the only one who can say that the height of the pandemic really showed me the trivial things I took for granted.  

Being at home conditioned me to want to be home and stay secluded. I began to fear being around people because I was so scared I would get sick and bring it home. Whenever I was around people, I felt so guilty and anxious. As a natural-born extrovert, I am supposed to want to be around people, right? But, I felt like I was having an identity crisis, and whenever I was not home, I was an anxious shell of a person. Not being able to go anywhere or do anything took a toll on a few close friendships, and I lost some along the way. I did not know how I could be friends with people who wanted me to risk the health and safety of my family and undermine my reasoning for doing so. I found great solace in a friend who was in a similar situation to mine, and it brought us together in many ways. We talked about our anxieties and it felt so therapeutic.  

Now that I am on my own, I am my own boss, and I must decide for myself what is safe. I find a lot of comfort in my school’s vaccine mandate and random testing methods. I wear my mask whenever I can, and I keep my distance. I take my mom’s advice of keeping a little bottle of hand sanitizer wherever I go. But when I am in public events, I do still experience those anxieties, which is normal. There is still a chance that I could get sick, but I find comfort in knowing that I am being as safe as I can be, while still having a fun time.  

A few tips that have helped me combat this anxiety are focusing on the present, implementing gratitude into my daily life, exercising, and turning off my phone! Focusing on the present is a terrific way to ground myself and my stress. I have found that meditation has really helped me, and I will always recommend it to anyone who feels the same way. I implement gratitude by writing a list of 10 things I am grateful for everyday, which gives me time to count my blessings and acknowledge the things I do have. During the pandemic, I got into exercising more, and I love it so much because it clears my head and is one thing I have for myself. I also love being in control of the things I do, which greatly reduces my anxiety. Turning off my phone is my most important tip. We hear so much on the news, and it can make you feel so anxious to do anything. All we hear is unwelcome news! So, turn off the phone, and read a book or take a walk! I promise you will feel just a little bit better.  

The truth is, we do not know when the pandemic will really be over. We must find a balance between living our lives and being safe. I am so glad that we have modern science, technology, and research to help us combat the issues. Now that my whole family is fully vaccinated, I feel a new level of safety, but I also still worry that something will happen to them. The anxious feelings do pop up from time to time and they may never go away, but I know I have great methods to cope with my Covid-19 anxiety. I hope they can help you too.  

Olivia Seaman

St. John's '25

Olivia is a first year Journalism and Film Studies student from PA with a passion for women's rights and pop culture. She hopes to change the world one article at a time!
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