This is going to be a little bit different than my normal content, but I think it’s an important thing for me to share. I was very anxious about getting the COVID vaccine, the the point where I was literally shaking. I almost had a panic attack when I went in to the room to actually get the vaccine, it was bad. But I made it through, and it was a relatively painless process, and I wanted to share some tips for getting the vaccine for those of us with anxiety disorders (or really, anybody who’s anxious about it).
1. Arrive Early
The last thing you want to do is add more stress to the process of getting vaccinated. If you aim to get there early, even by just 10 minutes, you’re going to avoid feeling rushed. You probably won’t be able to get in early, but at least you’ll be there with some time to spare.
2. Take Deep Breaths
This one is a pretty standard suggestion for any stressful or anxiety-provoking situation, but I’m mentioning it to remind you how important it is. I know it’s especially hard to do while wearing a mask, but it’s better than not taking those deep breathes as much as you can.
3. Close Your Eyes and Squeeze Your Jacket/Sweater/Etc
Here’s the thing, and I can say this with 100% sincerity, the worst part of getting any vaccine is the anticipation. First, and most importantly, close you eyes and look away from the person administering the vaccine. The second thing I found helpful is to squeeze something with your hand on the arm opposite the one getting the shot, basically transfer that tension as much as you can to that arm, put all your focus into it. Using the opposite arm to the one getting the shot is very important because it will obviously cause your muscles to tense up, and that will hurt.
4. You’ll Be Ok
This isn’t so much a tip as it is a reassurance. The whole process feels scary, from stressing about the needle, to worrying how your body will react. I will say the after-effects are not fun, my arm has been very sore for almost a day now, and I had a bit of nausea a few hours after, but I’m fine. I’m not going to end up in the hospital, or die, or whatever, it’s just unpleasant and uncomfortable. But that’s all it is. You will be fine.
5. Treat Yourself
You did it! You got round one of the vaccine, and you’ve not only overcome a very anxiety-provoking experience, but you’ve done a great thing for your health, and the health of society. You deserve to kick back, relax, and maybe treat yourself to something. I personally got takeout from one of my favorite restaurants, and played video games for like 6 hours straight. The experience will be draining, especially emotionally if you’re facing a lot of anxiety, so why not pamper yourself for a little bit. Give yourself something to look forward to, something you enjoy, even if it’s something small. You earned it!
Anyway, I’m getting round 2 in about a month, so I will make a follow-up post to this one when that happens.