Busting COVID-19 Fear: Going Out Without (Much) Anxiety

May 4, 2020
A couple of months ago, you were probably having a hard time imagining how you were going to get used to staying home 24/7. But you and your family did get used to it—just in time to prepare to go back out into the world again.

And it isn’t even the same world you left a few weeks ago. Now, as you’re being told to enter a “new normal,” when you can move around more freely—to the doctor, office, grocery, restaurants, maybe the garden store—you’re rethinking, well, everything. The questions seem endless. Should you wear a mask? Gloves? Visit friends? How do you engage more freely with the rest of society and still maintain a safe social distance? Will you remember to wash your hands? And when you do venture out, will you or someone you love contract COVID-19? It can be overwhelming.

Anxiety and fear are emotions most of us are experiencing as we navigate our lives with the shadow of coronavirus all around us, said Dr. Melinda A. Cobb of Hancock Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

“Often, people are very anxious, particularly if they have to leave,” she said. “They’re on guard, fearful, and being watchful of other people around them. But I also think all of us are pretty sick of being stuck at home, and I definitely think going out will bring some positives, including being back in touch more directly with people. We’ll at least be able to see friends and co-workers.”

But as we go out into the world, even on a limited basis, it’s a good idea to take care of our mental health while we’re thinking about our physical health.

“Maintaining good mental health through this is a question of control and choice,” she said. “When we have control over the decisions we make, we are more comfortable.”

With that in mind, here are a few tips for leaving the fear behind:

At least until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, experiencing feelings of anxiety and fear are completely understandable. But, by following the guidelines above, and a little patience, they will likely lessen over time. Meanwhile, if you have questions about mental health or any other health-related topic, contact us. And, remember, we’re all in this together!

Dr. Melinda Cobb’s practice focus is on mood and anxiety disorders. Her office is at Hancock Counseling and Psychiatric Services, 120 W. McKenzie Road, Suite F, Greenfield. She can be contacted at 317-468-6200.


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