What to do if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the Delta variant

By McKenzie Schwark
Features Writer

It’s clear the delta variant has caused a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. For many of us the last year and a half has been stressful. An uncertain upcoming school year, increased climate anxiety, and now another COVID-19 variant to worry about, have all contributed to some serious uneasiness. The delta variant has led to some really tough decision making without any idea what the future might hold. Even though things felt under control for a short period of time this summer, it’s starting to feel like we’re back in almost the same place we were a year ago. If you weren’t feeling anxious and stressed we would honestly be surprised. 

Here are some ways to cope with current stress and anxiety. 

Focus on what you can control

One of the most frustrating things about this pandemic has been the lack of cohesive guidelines. Although you can’t control whether others get vaccinated, wear a mask, or adhere to social distancing, you can control whether you yourself do those things. We have all had to weigh the risk and decide what precautions make us feel most safe. Making firm decisions and sticking to them will help you feel like you have some power over your current situation. The only thing you have full control over here is your own actions, but focusing on that and reminding yourself that you do have some control can keep you from spiraling about all of the things that are just out of your hands. 

Feel whatever feelings you have 

Whatever you are feeling right now is totally valid. Whether that’s anxiety, stress, or anger, it’s important to let your emotions exist as whatever they are. Pushing down your feelings will only make them appear much stronger later, so it’s important to make space for whatever you are feeling now. The only way out is through, and that means you’re going to have to feel whatever you feel in order to let those feelings pass. 

Make a list of positives

There is a lot going on that is scary, but there is always some good news to be found. Make a list of things that have brought you joy or given you a moment of peace lately. Maybe it’s your morning coffee, a piece of good news you’ve gotten, or going for a walk with a friend. Keep the list somewhere you can easily access it, like on a post-it near your work computer or in your phone’s notes app. Whenever you feel yourself getting lost in despair you can look back at your list and remember that it isn’t all bad. 

Do an act of kindness 

A great way to make yourself feel better is by making someone else feel better. Putting good energy into the world can help bring that energy right back to you. Venmo a friend for a morning coffee treat, or send out a “thinking of you” postcard. Doing something nice for someone else can only make you feel better! 

Remind yourself this is going to end 

It doesn’t feel like it now, and it probably won’t feel like it tomorrow, but eventually this is going to end. Until then, know that you are not alone, and there are ways to cope with your anxiety.

It’s been a long and tumultuous year. It’s more important now than ever to hold onto what we can control, remind ourselves of the good in the world, and keep up the hope that someday these feelings will just be a distant memory.