The Stress and Conflicts High-Risk Individuals Are Facing In The Ongoing Pandemic

Tessa Koller

It's been more than two years now since we've been dealing with this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. When people started getting vaccinated last spring, there was a lot of hope for going back to normal. Just a few months after many were vaccinated, nobody was wearing masks in public for a while.

Now, it's almost 2022 and we've got dangerous variants to worry about, Omicron being one of them.

We need to be talking about high-risk individuals in today's Coronavirus times with these new variants. If you have other underlying health conditions and a deficient immune system, I'm on the same boat with you. I've been extra mindful and aware of my mental health since I've been staying home so much. To boot, I've been in a spiral with long-haul Covid and a weakened immune system.

Scientists need to consider those who are immunocompromised or immune-deficient as they develop treatments for Covid. We should also be talking about how individuals with weakened immune systems are dealing with ramifications from catching Covid and suffering from long-haul Covid post-vaccination.

For sixteen weeks now, I've had long-haul Covid and I have noticed some improvements in my health. However, my immune system is struggling and previous cell-by-cell blood tests I have done revealed a significant decrease in my lymphocyte counts. This awareness alarmed me as I am just a moving target for catching these nasty Covid variants, especially Omicron.

The CDC recently announced that the vaccines might not be enough to keep people safe if they catch Omicron. I've been reading a lot of mixed information about that, but I still strongly urge people to get vaccinated. The Covid vaccines have done their jobs for me and I'm so glad I got them.

After hearing that my lymphocyte counts had dropped, I've found myself nervous about going in public. I don't even want to go to the grocery store at this point. While I don't mind spending hours and days indoors, I have experienced some restlessness and uneasiness. It's bothersome watching my friends with strong immune systems going to concerts, gallery exhibitions, and running from place to place.

While at home, I've gotten used to staying busy, producing my creative work, and not trying to get bogged down by this ongoing pandemic madness.

In the past, I really struggled with depression and anxiety, but I've managed to find my purpose and happiness through my artistic abilities. Over the years, I've mastered my many crafts and can entertain myself for hours and days. But, I won't deny, there have been moments when I was feeling some dread and anxiety about staying home so much and what the cost would be if I did as much as run a quick errand.

Sometimes I get stir crazy and have to go for a walk outside. Being high-risk in this pandemic has illuminated a difficult fact; that I'm going to have to be more diligent about managing my overall health, both mental and physical.

Having long-haul Covid has changed the way I approach my healthcare and wellness routines. If you're having depression and anxiety relating to this ongoing pandemic, there are so many resources you can rely on. Therapy, meditation, Yoga, simple stretching, and doing something creative have been my go-to's and coping mechanisms.

Every article that pops up on my Google news feed about Omicron sends a shiver down my spine and then I have to turn my phone's screen off. I'm nervous about the thought of having a friend or two over yet sad about not being able to see people. Being immune-deficient comes with its set of challenges, but in pandemic times, these challenges are multiplied by thousands it seems.

If you have to be home a lot and are experiencing dread or uneasiness about this, try making lists each day of goals you'd like to accomplish. You can start by thinking about hobbies you've been interested in but haven't gotten around to or other fun activities to engage your brain and mind. By doing something, you're exercising your mental and physical health and this will keep you levelheaded and balanced.

When I notice depression or anxiety sneaking their way in, I immediately stop what I'm doing or thinking and meditate. In only ten minutes of deep breathing, I'd forget what was making me feel lousy and go do something creative or fun. It's the most effective way to get yourself out of that funk or feeling like something isn't right.

In just ten minutes, you can change your state of mind and get yourself to a better and more productive place. Creativity has been my biggest stress reducer and source of happiness. I've witnessed those who claim they didn't have a creative bone in their body go and do an abstract painting for fun and fell in love with the process. Take comfort in knowing you have the strength and resources within you to lift yourself up when you're feeling down about circumstances.

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For over ten years now, I've been writing for several publications from Thrive Global to Lifehack to The Mighty and to Yahoo. Expect to see articles covering the latest in lifestyle, health, entrepreneurship and creativity.

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