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COVID19 Anxiety: Dealing with Stress, Fear and Uncertainty
GaganSidhu4/3/2020 10:36:27 PM
Last few weeks have been quite emotionally as well as physically draining for all us.
Fears about COVID-19 can take an emotional toll, especially when we are already living with stress & anxiety. But you’re not powerless.
It’s a frightening time. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shutting down. Some of us are in areas that have already been affected by coronavirus which causes concerns in our minds for ourselves and our loved ones. While we are bracing for what may come. And all of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next?”
For many people, the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be impacted or how bad things might get. And that makes it all too easy to catastrophize and spiral out into overwhelming dread and panic. But there are many things you can do—even in the face of this unique crisis—to manage your anxiety and fears.
Stay informed—but don’t obsessively check the news
It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening in your local area, so you can follow advised safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus which is to stay home. But there’s a lot of misinformation & fake news going around, as well as sensationalistic coverage that only feeds into fear.
m Step away from media & Stick to trustworthy sources. Constant monitoring of news and social media feeds can quickly fuel anxiety rather than easing it.If anxiety is an ongoing issue, consider limiting your media consumption to a specific time frame and time of day (Ex. I spend 10 mins at 10 am & 7pm)
m Ask someone reliable to share important updates. If you’d feel better avoiding media entirely, ask someone you trust to pass along any major updates you need to know about.
m Be careful what you share. Do your best to verify information before passing it on. We all need to do our part to avoid spreading rumors and creating unnecessary panic. Also, please avoid sharing any hate message since we are diverse culture.
Focus on the things you can control
There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what’s going to happen in our communities. That’s a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the Internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen.
When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. For example, you can’t control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risz such as:
m washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
m avoiding touching your face (particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth).
m staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick.
m getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.
m following all recommendations from health authorities.
Stay connected—even when physically isolated
The biggest thing that most people can do right now to make a positive difference is to practice social distancing.
But social distancing comes with its own risks. Humans are social animals. We’re hardwired for connection. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and depression, and even impact our physical health.
m Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family by scheduling regular phone, chat or video call to counteract that tendency.
m Social media can be a powerful tool—not only for connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances—but for feeling connected in a greater sense to our communities, country, and the world. It reminds us we’re not alone.
m That said, be mindful of how social media is making you feel. Don’t hesitate to log off if it’s making you feel worse.
m Don’t let coronavirus dominate every conversation.
Take care of your body and spirit
m Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
m Maintain a routine as best you can. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
m Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something—whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.
m Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood.
m Take up a relaxation practice. Regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
Be Kind & Help others
It’s no coincidence that those who focus on others in need and support their communities, especially during times of crises, tend to be happier and healthier than those who act selfishly. Helping others not only makes a difference to your community—and even to the wider world at this time—it can also support your own mental health and well-being.
Reach out to others in need. You can help older adults, low-income families, and others in need by donating food or cash by connecting with local authorities.
Be a calming influence. If friends or loved ones are panicking, try to help them gain some perspective on the situation. Being a positive, uplifting influence in these anxious times can help you feel better about your own situation too.
Be kind to others. With the right outlook and intentions, we can all ensure that kindness and charity spread throughout our communities even faster than this virus.
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