The Covid-19 Anxiety Guide For The At-Risk Patient
Covid-19 anxiety is its own topic in the mental health community already. For people who fight autoimmune disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer or heart disease, however, anxiety is even more palpable. It doesn’t help that social distancing, which is the best practice recommended by experts and official guidelines, can have dire consequences to our mental and physical health.
In our blog post Love Is All You Need: 3 Ways Love Can Improve Your Health, we talked about why connection is so important to our health on such a profound level. Feeling connected can not only improve your mental state but strengthen your immunity as well. Feeling isolated and disconnected, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect.
No wonder anxiety is on the rise among people who, unlike the generation before us, have fewer real-life face to face interactions. The Covid-19 quarantine only makes matters worse by further isolating us from our friends and loved ones and offering additional worries for risk group patients.
Today on the blog we want to offer you support by making a list of resources you can access from your home to lower your anxiety, receive health care or get involved in stress-reducing activities.
Therapy at home or online
If you feel like you need professional support during this time or you have been meaning to start therapy just before the quarantine happened, it may be good to know that you don’t have to leave your house to get the help you need.
Many platforms provide online therapy by digitally connecting you to a therapist. It’s no different than talking to your friend on Zoom.
BetterHelp is a platform that can match you to the right online therapist after you fill out a short questionnaire. The questionnaire is completely anonymous and it’s objective is simply to help the algorithm find a mental health professional who can address the issues you’d like to deal with in therapy. Financial assistance is also offered if you need it.
TalkSpace is another platform for online therapy that offers to match you to the right therapist for you. The Unlimited Therapy program subscription allows you to message your therapist at any time you feel like it but you cal also schedule a video chat with them. TalkSpace has a mission of making therapy available and affordable by working with employers, health plans, employee assistance programs (EAP), and educational organizations.
If you’d rather see your therapist face to face, a licensed clinical psychologist can come to your home through the IPS. their services are often covered by your insurance plan so you won’t have to pay out of pocket. They also provide Teletherapy if in-person visits are not an option for you or if you’d rather lean on the safer side during this time.
If you want to learn more about teletherapy or come across some mental health resources created by licensed professionals, you can check out eCounseling – they also have a comprehensive guide to teletherapy services.
Self-help or online courses
If your insurance doesn’t cover it or if therapy is not an appealing option but you still want to develop the coping skills to deal with anxiety, self-help is always available. From YouTube channels (by licensed therapist or coaches) to online courses, there are many ways to manage your emotions at home.
Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist who is behind the YouTube channel Therapy in a Nutshell. On her channel, you’ll find a lot of helpful videos on a variety of topics, including anxiety. Her videos are meant to teach you easy to apply coping skills and techniques to lower anxiety and increase resilience in times of mental and emotional distress. You can also find her online courses on Udemy.
Another therapist who is on YouTube to teach you coping skills and offer actionable advice is Julia Kristina. She has addressed the Covid-19 anxiety in a video on the topic. Her channel covers a wide variety of issues you might be dealing with, from how to process an emotion to how to set boundaries with others.
Home health care
If you or a member of your household need any form of health care, from infusions to assistance, you can still receive care at home. Even though doctor’s appointments are a legitimate reason to leave the house, hospitals are among the places with the highest of transmitting viruses and germs. This is why home health services are so important in times of quarantine.
On the website of NAHCH you will find their National Agency Location Service where you can search for home care providers in your area. Some of the biggest providers include Addus Homecare and Right at Home. if you need infusions, your treatment team should be able to either send a nurse over to your home or recommend a service near you.
Your most reliable source of information is your primary doctor or the team treating your condition. There are many ways you can reach out to them without leaving your home – you can call or Skype or Zoom them.
The other two sources of reliable information to turn to are the CDC and the World Health Organisation. As tempting as it is, following the news religiously can make your anxiety worse and even cause sleep disturbances. Remember that not every source is trustworthy and when it comes to your personal health the doctor or doctors who have been monitoring your condition can give you the most relevant answers.
Calming your anxiety about Covid-19 should be your priority now as mental resilience can translate into stronger immunity and better physical health. Go out for walks if that’s possible to get some vitamin D from the sun, while maintaining social distancing. If this is an option for you and your doctor didn’t caution against it, staying physically active is going to strengthen your immune system and relieve your anxiety so find some exercises to do at home. And remember to call your friends – connection is integral to health.