One thing the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about for many of us, is some degree of stress, worry, or anxiety. Having lived through more than a year of lockdowns, dodging germs, and dealing with turmoil, many of us face a new concern: the vaccine itself. So, how do you work through the anxiety you experience, whether it’s related to when you will get it, what brand you will get, where you will get it, what it will feel like, and even if you want to get it? Here are a few things you can do to lessen that anxiety:
Confront it. Accept the fact that anxiety is our evolutionary, first-line of defense and is a way we self-protect. Just remember it’s related to something that is probably new for you, and about which you know little. Understand this and avoid allowing it to drive your decisions. Consider where the anxiety is coming from so you can move forward in a positive way.
Learn what drives your anxiety. To get a handle on where the worry, and concerns are coming from, seek out reliable sources that will provide the type of information you need to answer the questions that are tying you up in unnecessary stress. There are many verifiable resources that can be relied on to allow you to make an informed, well-reasoned decision about the vaccine. Remember, knowledge is power.
Engage in a risk-benefit analysis after ruling out possible serious reactions to receiving the vaccine. To get to this point, contact your healthcare provider to get full details about any medical implications for you. Then, ask yourself if the benefit of becoming vaccinated outweighs any possible risks from being vaccinated.
Don’t go through this alone. Share your worries with a trusted friend, relative, or qualified, licensed psychotherapist or psychologist. Processing feelings of doubt and concern can help free you from the restraints of self-doubt, and give you the strength to come out from under the weight of fear and anxiety.
Be mindful. Remaining in the moment will allow you to think things through more clearly. Take your time until you arrive at a point where you feel comfortable enough to move forward without worry. After taking the steps outlined above, it is ultimately your decision, your choice. Move forward with the positive feelings that come with decisive action.
Rick Cullen, LCSW
Rick is a Native Floridian who provides individual and couples therapy to persons age 17 – 90 who struggle with mental health issues, including anxiety, addiction, mood disorders (e.g. Depression, Bipolar), and thought disorders (e.g. Schizophrenia). Advocating for people has always been Rick’s passion and he has practiced this from the outset of his career, first as a criminal defense lawyer, and currently as a psychotherapist.