This post is made possible with support from the Meg Foundation. All opinions and tips to get past your fear of needles today are my own.
There’s a lot going on in the world. It’s been a crazy year. None of us ever imagined we’d live through a global pandemic in our lifetime. The biggest concern for most of us before 2020 was a laundry list of first-world problems. Life in 2019 could be hard, but not 2020 pandemic hard. Suddenly, for most of us, nothing made sense, and when that happened, the unknown brought with it new stresses and anxieties.
Right now, the only answer to stopping the pandemic is herd immunity. That term kind of makes me want to moo, right? All kidding aside, I’m thrilled that science has given us a way to save ourselves and those we love, but getting vaccinated brings with it a new set of anxieties and stresses for some.
The fear of needles is real and nothing to be afraid of.
Don’t like shots? The thought of a needle freaks you out? You’re not alone. 25% of adults have a fear of needles. Don’t be embarrassed. I got so many shots as a kid with chronic health issues that I get sweaty palms just thinking about it even now. I worked through my fear of needles by making a plan and moving through my fears. Please don’t let needle anxiety stop you from being safe from Covid-19.
The Meg Foundation has resources to help you get through needle fears. Everyone can benefit from learning these techniques, but for people with needle anxiety, the techniques are life-changing. The first thing is to make a plan because action is the enemy of anxiety; the more concrete the plan the better you will feel.
Be an advocate for yourself
If you are nervous about getting your vaccine, don’t be afraid to say so. Lots of people have a fear of needles. Those administering the shots are aware of this. Letting people know what you need is the only way they will know (this goes for everything in life, not just vaccinations). You’re not being difficult, you’re advocating for yourself. You are a self-aware bad B. People don’t mind giving you what you need but you’re going to have to tell them.
Block the pain
Getting vaccinated doesn’t have to be painful. Over-the-counter anesthetics like Lidocaine cream are great for a little pre-vaccination numbing at the injection site. To be honest, when I was vaccinated recently ( both times) I didn’t feel a thing. I usually get the flu shot every year and I do feel that but with the Pfizer vaccine, I honestly felt no pain or even the standard pinch when a shot is injected.
Take deep breaths
You probably remember the power of breathing techniques from giving birth. I never put much stock into breathing techniques, until I experienced a unmedicated, Pitocin induced birth. That made me a believer and anyone who has used it, knows it works. Don’t overthink it. Just take a few slow, deep breaths before and during the injection. Using a meditation app for a minute before also helps me in stressful situations to just slow down and get through the moment.
If you want to rely on something more than just deep breaths to get you through, focus on something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. To clear my head, I always listen to music. However, watching kittens on YouTube or just scroll through your social media feeds is enough to take your mind off the task at hand…or arm, I should say. I’ve done this a lot with my girls throughout their childhood. Distraction is a great way to refocus those overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety that needles might bring. For me, when I am stressed, I talk, so I chatted with all the other people getting vaccinated.
Bring a support person
Phone a friend or family member and either bring them with you physically ( schedule your vaccinations together) or Facetime them during your vaccination appointment. Maybe it feels a bit awkward as an adult to be virtually hanging out with a friend in a room full of people but if it relaxes you enough to not feel as overwhelmed, it is totally worth a few minutes of talking to your phone in a room full of strangers. A bestie, spouse or sibling is a great support person for getting out of your head and engrossed in conversation. The Big Guy and I got both vaccinations together, sitting side by side.
The Big Guy and I got both of our vaccinations, and even though there was trepidation about getting the shot, I’m so glad that I did it. Getting everyone vaccinated is a step towards keeping the whole country safe and being able to hug our loved ones once again. Making a plan and working through your fears of needles to get vaccinated not only keeps you safe, in my eyes, but it also makes you a superhero because not only are you protecting yourself from getting coronavirus, you are protecting everyone you know and love. You are part of the solution to this devastating problem that is ravaging the world with no discrimination, rhyme, or reason.
Don’t let your fear stand between you and your safety. Think, plan, and go get your shot and pass on these techniques because you never know when someone else is feeling nervous, too.