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Quarantine: Some Thoughts From a Really Anxious Guy

The information in this article is a matter of my personal opinion and is in no way a substitute for professional advice.

To be honest, I have been worried about the fact that I am not too worried about COVID-19. What an interesting thing. This is not to say I don’t doubt its severity and the duty I have to myself, to the country and to the world in slowing its spread. I’ve also felt bad about graduation events being possibly cancelled (happily, they’ve only been postponed!) and the uncertainty of whether I’ll see my friends in Muskoka this summer. Rather, I am not feeling the same shock that others are. My theory as to the cause of this is that not all too much has changed for me. My whole life I have struggled with anxiety and obsessive behaviour. For example, I can get very concerned about how I talk in front of my computer, not wanting to get spit on it. I’m also someone who is frequently in their own thoughts and naturally spends time alone in their room. I suppose I’m used to having to be highly conscious of things (like you might have to be to social distance in large settings) and to being on my own.

If this is right, may I share with you three strategies that I have used to deal with anxious thoughts? They just might help you if you’re having a difficult time.

  1. Talking to Someone Whenever I have an anxious thought that’s nagging me, I like to speak to someone. This might be a family member, but sometimes I prefer to speak to a more independent person like my guidance counsellor. Speaking about my worries helps me get over them. I recently spoke to Kids Help Phone, which was a really nice experience. Talking to someone might also be a way of distracting yourself from being sad or worried. Maybe chat to your friends on Discord or FaceTime. CPG Grey made a good point in his recent video on productivity: “others are more open to [video chat] than you might expect.” This is nice to think of since I can find it weird to ask someone if they want to video chat.

  2. Getting Up and Going I’ve found myself lying in bed, mulling over a worry for hours. I can try to think of a way to solve it, say, by proving to myself that I didn’t spit on my computer, but then I question that proof and, oh boy, here we go again! It can be hard to halt this cycle of worry and do something else. Know that getting the ball rolling makes it easier to keep the ball rolling (inertia!). One way I have done this is by consciously saying “yes” to my Dad when he asks if I want to take the dog for a walk with him. Not only do I enjoy the conversations I have with him during our walks, it also gets me up and dressed. (Level IVs, maybe you could gather some active hours by dog walking like I did). Another action I take to get myself going is opening my curtain. Allowing natural light into my room in the morning helps stop the endless cycle of watching YouTube right after I wake up. This might be because the light makes it difficult to see the screen and because I’m embarrassed that someone will see me.

  3. Listening to Awesome Music Although I haven’t used this one as much, I can say that I listen to a lot of music. Personally, I have been getting into 80s music and disco. Good songs can make me dance in my chair or once (because why not?) in the living room for my whole street to watch. It’s hard staying worried while the Bee Gees are telling me about “stayin’ aliiiiiiiiive.” YouTube has a nice music player, YouTube Music, whose tab I pin in my browser.

Well, there we go. Some ideas that may help. Stay safe, be happy and ABBA has the best music–oh, did I just write that?

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