By Risa Williams, author of The Ultimate Anxiety Toolkit
Posted on Jessica Kingsley Publishers' blog
As a therapist who specializes in anxiety and stress reduction tools, this last year definitely made me more aware of how anxiety was rising for so many people at the exact same time.
At first, as the pandemic was unfolding, there was an initial wave of change anxiety surrounding the feeling of uncertainty: How long will this continue? How will I get basic supplies? How will I home school the kids and work out of the bedroom on a makeshift desk?
Over the holidays, there was a definite FOMO anxiety: When will I see people again? When will holidays go back to normal? How will we cope with missing out on so much this year?
Now, as we get to the “end” of lockdown, another wave of anxiety is hitting people all at once: How safe is it back in the office? Where should I wear a mask now? Can’t I just keep telecommuting now that I’m finally used to it?
With every new change, new anxiety is bound to be triggered in many people. And this year has had non-stop change! So, it makes sense that people are reporting higher than ever anxiety levels (62% of Americans were already reporting high anxiety last March and it’s probably much, much higher now).
In other words, if you’re currently experiencing any anxiety, you’re really not alone.
Here are some ways to help you cope with the uncomfortable feelings that new change brings:
Sometimes anxiety wants us to solve a dozen future problems all in one single moment! It can be helpful to remember that you can choose to deliberately slow things down when you need to. Take things one problem at a time, one day at a time, one month at a time. Then, try to connect with how you want to feel in the future and start to trust that you’ll get there in time.
Risa Williams is a licensed psychotherapist and coach specializing in anxiety reduction tools, a wellness writer, and a professor in Los Angeles. For more anxiety reduction tools, please check out: “The Ultimate Anxiety Toolkit: 25 Tools to Worry Less, Relax More and Boost Your Self-Esteem” by Risa Williams (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, June 2021), www.theultimateanxietytoolkit.com