I will be the first to admit that I under-estimated “COVID anxiety” and how much being in a global pandemic would affect me. Not just health-wise—although I’m super thankful that my mom had bought me 2 boxes of masks back in January—but also how it would affect me mentally.

I started off the COVID quarantine with a pretty positive mindset. “I already work remotely 90% of the time, this really isn’t affecting me much at all!” I’m super grateful that nobody I know has gotten COVID or has suffered too much from the pandemic. Then May hit, and maybe it also tied into turning 25 in a pandemic, but my mental state just started to go downhill.

I was a lot less productive throughout the week, I was always tired, easily aggravated, and felt 0 motivation to do everything I used to love doing. My fitness fell, my content fell—it just felt like I had lost all inspiration to do anything. And that’s when I read this quote:

“You’re not working from home. You’re at home, during a crisis, trying to work.”

It’s easy to forget this distinction when you’re already so used to being at home and being a homebody. But as I’ve been explaining to some of my friends lately—when I felt that I had the freedom of being ABLE to go out to a coffee shop, or into the office, to work taken away from me…I felt trapped, anxious, and crazy.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times in my vlogs that I want to make a video talking about how I’ve been dealing with this lack of motivation and an increase in anxiety. But the truth is, it’s still something I’ve been battling to this day.

So instead of bringing myself more COVID anxiety and stress trying to sit down and articulate vocally in a video (which although I love talking is still much more difficult than sitting and writing an article), I’m going to try my best to explain to you in this blogpost how I’ve been feeling, and what’s been pulling me through of my COVID mental fog.

How I’ve been feeling

I don’t know when or how it started, but one day my COVID mental fog just hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt demotivated, always tired, and just sick of what I was doing. As someone who thrives on hard work, consistency, and loving what she does, this feeling was extremely scary for me. Suddenly not enjoying and not feeling inspired by what was I working on, it made it even harder to get out of bed in the morning.

I’m usually someone who works on a pretty consistent sleep schedule. I sleep at 12 and wake up around 7 am. Sometimes even by 6:30 am. But since the pandemic, I’ve found it harder and harder to wake up and get up in the morning, while also harder to fall asleep on certain nights.

I feel incredibly sorry for those who had to deal with the uncertainty of losing their job and not knowing how they were going to afford rent. Luckily, all of my friends who had lost their jobs in these last months have been ones who have families here who are able to support them through this tough time. I guess on the more positive flip side of this is that I’ve been feeling a lot more gratitude for all that I have—my health, my home, and my job.

Battling COVID-19 Anxiety and Brain Fog

How I’ve been dealing with it

I definitely wasn’t able to just “jump right in” to getting out of this funk like I usually am. Hell, it’s nearing the end of October now (I started this blogpost in July) and I’m still just trying to figure out. But here are a few things that I’ve been doing that I think has helped:

1. Journaling

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—IT WORKS! Journaling has been such a big part of my life for so long and I’m incredibly happy that it’s been a tool that I can use to get out of emotional funks throughout COVID.

2. Working out

Seriously I have yet to find something as effective as a good post-gym dopamine rush. I feel better about life, about my body, and about myself after the gym. This was super hard to get back into and I definitely found myself slacking (for several months), using the excuse “working out at home just isn’t the same”. I’m so glad I’ve finally gotten back into it (but even more thankful that my apartment gym reopened with COVID-friendly procedures in place).

3. See a therapist

Yeup, you read that right. Ya girl has finally sought out a therapist! Although I’ve only seen her 1.5 times (the half time is my initial consultation), there’s something about unloading your burdens to a totally objective stranger who just so happens to be a professional in the matter that is SO RELIEVING. I don’t know what it is, but I felt almost immediately better after just chatting with my therapist. Maybe it’s just having someone to listen and validate what you’re feeling.

4. Taking rest days

Seems easy enough but I am definitely one to load on the work when I am in a funk in an effort to try to take my mind off of being in a funk. Not the smartest method I know but I can’t help it. So it’s been so nice to schedule out days where I just… do nothing. Or anything.

5. Finding something exciting to work on

As someone who clearly thrives off work, it was important for me to get motivated and inspired again to… well, work. For me, this inspiration came from my “do-nothing” days where I actually chose to binge-watch other YouTubers. Something about watching talented YouTubers create beautiful content about their lives really inspired me to continue to work on my content. And boy am I glad I did.

I’ve been re-inspired to create fun, educational, entertaining content on all of my platforms. If you guys want to see my day-to-day or hear some of my musings be brought to life in video form, check out my YouTube channel!

Angel Zheng