Anxiety in the time of COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in New York, it is normal for everyone to be anxious about their health and the health of their loved ones. One common symptom of COVID-19 is chest tightness and shortness of breath. As it happens, chest tightness and shortness of breath are also common symptoms of anxiety, so in some individuals, the problem may compound itself via a self-reinforcing loop.
There are a number of grounding techniques that you can use to slow down a rapid heart rate and/or quickened breathing. Try to focus on something that’s immediately in your environment or count backwards out loud from 100 by threes, because that gets you to focus and be in the moment. If you practice some of these techniques and your symptoms improve, that’s a good sign it was anxiety, and not a physical illness. Another worthwhile technique is progressive muscle relaxation, an exercise that involves tensing and then releasing parts of the body one by one. Experts suggest practicing this technique for a few minutes each morning, midday, and night, not only when you’re anxious, so that you’re able to call upon it more readily when you are feeling panicked.
If none of these techniques help and you continue to feel anxious, contact your healthcare provider. Also contact your doctor if you’re experiencing more than one symptom of coronavirus, such as dry cough or high fever. Atrium Medical is now offering televisits through the COVID-19 outbreak to make sure New Yorkers have the care they need during these turbulent times. Click the “book an appointment” link or call the office to set up your televisit.