Understanding Post COVID-19 Anxiety & Finding
Healthy Solutions

Brenda Isen is an experienced psychotherapist and a clinical mental health coach with over 35 years of practice. Outlined in this article, Brenda provides insight on how to understand what POST COVID-19 anxiety is, what are the common symptoms, and steps about how to cope and mend overall mental, physical and emotional health.

“We are just beginning to determine a better understanding of the impact that COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have been on our mental, emotional and physical well-being.” – Brenda Isen, Therapist and Clinical Mental Health Coach, 2022

For some, the COVID 19 protocols and the subsequent lockdowns were welcome change for many from the stressful, overly fast-paced life that was previously deemed normal. COVID-19 allowed some to slow down and take safety at home. Today’s generation had previously faced the constant challenge of balancing career and family obligations and overly busy lives. Unintentionally, for some, COVID had assisted in slowing ourselves down to connect more positively with our mental health. For some, the pandemic was a ‘correction’ from the stress of modern living.

For most others, however, the pandemic was a hugely anxiety provoking global event, that has changed much of our outlooks and perspectives about work, family, health, and mental health.

Most people have experienced increased anxiety including specifically:

  • Increased health anxiety and feelings of distress about physical
  • Fears of dying and becoming severely unwell
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Discomfort and unfamiliarity in socializing
  • Increased concerns about germ and virus transmission, as well as

Individuals who had pre-existing thoughts and feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma had another significant layer of negative triggers related to the pandemic to navigate through. Those impacted by anxious thoughts and feelings had already developed a sense of distress, fear and compromised well being. We know that anxiety builds upon itself and can become magnified and distorted by each layer of worry. For those who have experienced trauma, these fears can grow and layer themselves in our minds exponentially. Given the gravity of world health issues that COVID brought, many of us have developed an increased sense of general unrest and uncertainty, and a sense of Ambient Trauma.

“Ambient trauma is trauma accumulated in everyday living and the exceptional events that are becoming increasingly every day. It isn’t necessarily associated with singular events but, rather, is related to pervasive environmental harms and threats, flowing chains of events, and their fated continuance.” BlackFlang |Written By Vo Vo | October 21, 2022

For many: the ambient trauma experiences that were specific to COVID-19 were real and tangible, such as loss of life, physical health, jobs, businesses, financial hardship, crises, and grief.

However, these situations can be addressed with supportive psychotherapy that can be helpful in healing the pain and grief associated with these outcomes.


Many individuals describe a lack of confidence in their social skills after more than 2 years of not socializing professionally and personally. Increased sensitivity to judgement and social criticism plague many. Many individuals describe a sense of social awkwardness and unfamiliarity about how to interact, even for those who were previously socially confident. For those who are naturally socially introverted, socializing became more daunting.

Clients in therapy sessions with Brenda Isen will talk about “not knowing” how to go on dates, how to make conversation, interact with others, or have a flow in communication. Individuals have become so insecure about their social skills that some become withdrawn, ‘mute’, developed a stutter, hyperfocus on COVID closeness or proximity checks, or completely avoid social interaction. With the constant changes in regulations, it has become too unclear what healthy social protocols should even be applied or adhered to.

Many have experienced family and interpersonal conflict specifically about how to navigate the viruses that exist.

The news media feeds into our anxieties by sensationalizing and constant reporting of impending crises that must be faced. This has increased the fear of uncertainty, which pushes more readers to steer from social gatherings. All these fears are normal reactions to the time that we have recently spent being isolated and disconnected socially.

However, Brenda reassures that these are skills that can readily be relearned and regained. Given that most of us had already developed these feelings prior to COVID. It is important to move away from the constant barrage of negative media reports about impending crises to be faced, and get back to life in gradual, incremental steps.


Brenda recommends talking with a trusted therapist and developing a healthy supportive relationship with a mental health professional. Research has demonstrated that anxiety interventions and treatments can be highly successful in diminishing these anxious symptoms within short periods of time.

Practices of mindfulness, gratitude, and focusing on what we can predict, and control can counteract our anxious responses. A recommendation from Brenda is requesting therapy sessions to address social and health related fears, practice reusing social skills, and gain confidence with goals that can be easily achieved in a short-order talk therapy setting, either virtually or in person.

A helping professional can help in increasing a sense of well-being and peaceful thinking to guide the mind to move away from fear.

“ When our brain moves towards joy, equanimity, love, compassion, and peace itself regulates. When we move towards fear we dysregulate.”- Depak Chopra, TedTalk

Brenda also recommends specific therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Systematic Desensitization, and practicing Mindfulness that will reduce COVID anxiety. Openly discussing and addressing fears in therapy has a cathartic healing component. reassuring competence about being heard in the expression and validating those feelings.

Dr. Emily Anhalt encourages us to honor the uncertainty that we are feeling by working and feeling through our thoughts and related emotions. This is the fundamental goal of all successful therapy:

  • Gaining a new perspective
  • New ways of viewing life
  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms is achievable for anyone

As we re-enter our social, work, and community-oriented worlds post pandemic, additional support and guidance gained through health coaching and psychotherapy can be beneficial to everyone.