Hypochondria is defined as excessive worry or concern about one’s health. While not everyone deals with diagnosable hypochondriasis, many people are experiencing heightened and excessive worry about their health due to COVID-19. It is not easy to deal with health anxiety when everywhere you go there are new updates and reminders that we are currently living in a global pandemic. Even with following the safety guidelines issued by the CDC, the anxiety and stress can work against you and influence your immune system. Which means you may not have COVID but you may get sick from worry nonetheless. Here are some things during this time that could help you if you struggle with health anxiety:
Temper your media consumption
While it is important to keep up with the things happening in the world, it is also easy to overdo it. Constantly being bombarded with information that stresses you out can have the capacity to work against you. Make sure to take some time away from the media and internet so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Turn to your hobbies and self care to help curb the stress.
Practice personal protection
Even as more people are getting vaccinated, and choosing to engage socially, consider what you need to protect yourself. Six feet is the minimum for social distancing out in public, if you find yourself surrounded by people who don’t respect that distance, don’t be afraid to assert your space. Continue to wear masks and face shields, carry hand sanitizer with you and wash your hands when you can. Also make sure to wash your hands when you get home.
Consider what you need to boost your immune system
Exercise and a balanced diet are not only good ways to preoccupy yourself and your mind but they are the first defense you have against getting sick. Keeping your body and mind healthy will help strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy in the long run.
Seek out medical help when necessary
If you are feeling sick, or worried and stressed, seek out help. Talk therapy could be beneficial and helpful for a variety of reasons beyond hypochondria. But your health anxiety may cause you to seek out help more often than necessary. Doctors are one of our first defenses against the virus. Many doctor’s offices are booked at this time, and emergency room wait times are quite long. Create awareness of your body, your patterns, and your physical feelings. Keep a diary of what you are feeling and assess if you need to go to the doctor.
Seek out trustworthy sources
Find sources that you can trust and stick to those. This digital era has brought unlimited knowledge and information to our fingertips. And while that is a great advantage for many reasons, it also means that there is a lot of contradicting information and non-accredited sources that can contribute to that knowledge. Be careful where you get your information and make sure the source is trustworthy.
Understand how you best manage stress
Each of us handles stress and anxiety in different ways. Recall moments in your past where you have felt the way you feel now and try to remember what worked for you. Acknowledge how you are feeling and discover what works best for you. Whether it’s help like therapy or selfcare, reading or meditating, do what you need to in order to promote your mental wellbeing.
Burfitt, E. (2020, March 18). How to deal with health anxiety during a pandemic. Retrieved February 22, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-health-anxiety-during-a-pandemic#How-to-stop-worrying-about-COVID-19
(IPD), B. (2021, January 05). Managing health anxiety during covid-19 and flu season. Retrieved February 22, 2021, from https://www.dupagemedicalgroup.com/health-topic/managing-health-anxiety-during-covid-19-and-flu-season
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