Overcoming Pandemic Related Anxiety 

As a mom, you know it’s important to take care of your mental health, not just for yourself but also for those who love and rely on you. But that can be challenging when you combine the stresses of motherhood with the anxiety generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Parenting has added challenges as a result of COVID-19. Many parents juggle child care while working from home or have engaged in teaching duties during their kids’ virtual school. Some people lost loved ones, some lost jobs, and all of us lost a little bit of the security we used to feel pre-pandemic. Who wouldn’t feel anxious with all that pandemic stress? Managing your mental health is always a priority, especially now.  

Overcoming Pandemic Related Anxiety
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

How the Pandemic Affects Mental Health 

You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed when it comes to struggling with health-related anxiety. An estimated 27.2% of American adults reported anxiety symptoms between January 26 and February 7, 2022, according to the Household Pulse Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau. 

The physical and psychological symptoms of pandemic-induced anxiety and depression can take a toll in all areas of your life: 

Physical Symptoms 

      • Increased fatigue
      • Headaches
      • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
      • Digestive problems
      • Insomnia
      • Appetite and weight changes 

Mental/Emotional Symptoms 

      • Mood swings (anger, irritability)
      • A deep, lasting sadness
      • Lack of focus or concentration
      • Inability to find joy or pleasure in favorite activities
      • Irrational fear (anxiety)
      • Feelings of guilt or hopelessness (depression)

As you can see, these debilitating symptoms can make it hard to function in daily life, especially when it comes to parenting. It’s hard to keep up with an active toddler, for instance, if you are exhausted, or you may lose your patience and snap at your child or partner when you’re overly irritable.  

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Anxiety or depression may also raise the risk of substance abuse issues. Some people may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their COVID-related anxiety or depression. And it can be tough to feel motivated to take care of yourself mentally and physically, but missing doctor’s appointments or screening tests for mental or physical health issues can make the problem even worse. 

It’s crucial to find strategies to help lessen any stress you’re feeling as a result of pandemic anxiety or depression. Taking care of your health and well-being will make it easier to take care of your family. If you’re waking up with anxiety, let’s look at some coping methods that may help you feel better. 

How to Beat Your Health Fears: Healthy Ways to Cope 

Whenever possible, tune out the bad news about the pandemic and tune into the blessings of your life. Develop a gratitude practice (even a quick 5-minute meditation works) to develop a positive mindset

Take care of yourself with healthy habits. Proper diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep can help you feel stronger physically and mentally. This can help alleviate any COVID anxiety symptoms.  

Don’t catastrophize any signs of illness. You don’t automatically have COVID if you get a cough or have a runny nose. Take a breath to get calm. Then, take a COVID test or call your doctor to discuss your symptoms. 

Don’t isolate yourself. You may be anxious about leaving your house for errands or work, especially if you have young children who can’t be vaccinated yet or you care for older relatives who are immunocompromised.

Take the proper health precautions. You may wash your hands well with soap and water after you’ve been outside the home or wear a mask in public if it makes you more comfortable and is recommended by your local health department. 

Get your health information from reliable sources. There’s plenty of fear-mongering and misinformation about COVID-19 on social media and the Internet. Talk with your healthcare provider if you need trusted information to help ease your health-related anxiety. 

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Seeking Professional Help 

If your symptoms of anxiety or depression are occurring almost every day, and they’ve been going on for more than two weeks, check in with your physician. You may want a psychological evaluation that could diagnose a mental health condition. This could help you towards treatment, typically medication or a talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. 

For anyone on mental health treatment already, for anxiety, postpartum depression, or another condition, it may be time to review the current treatment plan to make sure it’s working, especially if you’ve been experiencing anxiety or depression symptoms. If antidepressants or talk therapy aren’t getting you results, it may be beneficial to discuss alternative therapies with your mental health provider.

One such treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation. This non-invasive, non-sedating treatment uses gentle magnetic pulses targeting specific areas of the brain to help ease symptoms of major depressive disorder, which often overlaps with anxiety.  

Remember that you’re not alone if you’re struggling with pandemic stress that’s turned into anxiety. Reach out for help. We can all get through this together. 

Author Bio

Dr. Steven Harvey joined Greenbrook TMS in March 2018 as Regional Medical Director of our Greater St. Louis region. He is board-certified in general psychiatry and has been practicing since 1996 since earning his medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Harvey’s interest in TMS therapy was first sparked during his residency, and in 2013 he began practicing TMS therapy.

How to Help New Mothers With Mental Health Problems During COVID-19

COVID-19 resulted in jam-packed hospitals and long lines in healthcare units, leaving new mothers to deal with all kinds of mental health problems. Infected people were rushed to the hospitals, resulting in chaos and fear. On the other hand, healthy people started hoarding basic medical supplies, which caused problems for those who really needed them.

How to Help New Mothers With Mental Health Problems During Covid-19
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we love from companies that we trust.

Among all the people who suffered, everyone’s heart goes out to mothers who fought for their welfare and children’s lives. It’s common for parents to worry about their children’s safety, but their anxiety was compounded by the health and economic crisis.

With hundreds of people dying every day, it’s horrific to imagine the struggle of someone trying to bring a new life into the world. What if the child has the virus? What if they need to be rushed to the hospital? What if all the doctors are busy? These were the common concerns among the family members of pregnant women.

The Signs of Anxiety in Pregnant Women

When your worry becomes debilitating, you can assume that you have anxiety. Worrying about your child’s future is common amongst mothers, but COVID-19 has taken it to a whole new level. When negative thoughts about a child’s health don’t subdue even with doctors’ reassurance, you need to provide emotional support. Physical symptoms include increased heartbeat, excessive sweating (in palms), and experiencing difficulty in breathing.

If a pregnant lady or new mother becomes obsessive about their child’s health, chances are she needs support. They may refuse to perform basic tasks to stay with the child or refuse to go to places where they may suspect danger from the virus. You must be patient with them while treating these symptoms.

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How to Help Pregnant Women and New Mothers With Anxiety and Depression

Some common suggestions include eating healthy and working out with trained professionals who have taken cert 3 and 4 fitness online courses. Watching what they eat can profoundly influence their mood in general and make them feel better. These are the points to remember when supporting a new mother or a pregnant woman during COVID-19.

1. Seek Treatment

There’s no point beating around the bush if you know that your wife or daughter, or sister is suffering from anxiety during this stage of her life. You must actively seek treatment for her that’ll take away the problem. Cognitive behavior therapy is the most common resort chosen by doctors during the peripartum period. Doctors tackle negative thoughts, emotions, and actions with anxiety management techniques during this therapy. For severe cases, doctors may suggest medications. If you are at a mild level, avoid medications and focus on the therapy.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy

2. Journal

The root cause of anxiety among pregnant women is negative thoughts and worries, and this extends to motherhood. Along with therapy, journaling is a great option to tackle these thoughts. Penning down your thoughts is a great way to judge them. It gives you a perspective on what’s really important and what’s not. It allows you to empty your brain. When you journal at the end of each day, you start another with a fresh mind. Journaling is a must-try activity for expected mothers.

3. Yoga

Yoga is great for pregnant women and new mothers as it doesn’t stress the body. Depending on the strength of a woman, she can combine regular workouts with yoga sessions. It involves a series of poses and breathing exercises that work wonders for your body. It relaxes the mind and helps with the general muscle pain that comes with pregnancy. It is recommended to do yoga early in the morning for a fresh start to your day.

4. Adequate Sleep

Sleep is vital for people with anxiety disorders. Lack of good sleep causes strain in an individual’s brain, which leads to headaches. Sleep can expect both labor process and delivery of the child. It’s common to feel fatigued during the day when you’re pregnant. This is caused by increased progesterone in the body, which causes you to feel exhausted. Sleep is a cure for this tiredness, and anxiety can strip that from you. That’s why you need to use tools that can help you sleep. Try white noise generators or candles that can trigger sleep, so you wake up all relaxed and active.

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The chaos and uncertainty have left these new mothers with trauma and mental health problems. Pregnant women are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their child which has left them with anxiety. Not only pregnant women but also new mothers suffer from different mental health issues due to increased stress.

This calls for their family members and friends to extend a helping hand. They need support in terms of work and emotional support to conduct their daily tasks and get back to normal life as soon as possible.