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Coronavirus Anxiety: Coping with Stress, Fear, and Worry

Coronavirus Anxiety

The coronavirus pandemic is a dangerous health crisis. But many people tend to overlook the psychological impact of living in fear of an unseen killer. This problem is particularly compounded if you already suffer from anxiety disorders, symptomized by worry, fear, and stress. But don’t worry, you are neither alone nor powerless. This blog will attempt to help you learn how to get through this challenging time.

Understanding Where Your Stress Comes From

There is no denying that we are currently living through perhaps the scariest times in modern history. The pandemic has gripped the world tightly, causing economies to grind to a halt and forcing cities or, in some cases, entire countries to shut down. Many of us already live in areas that have been hit hard by the virus. Some of us are bracing for what everyone promises will be a bleak, dark chapter in our history. The constant and ominous headlines we come across do little to help, especially when we are in self-isolation.

This uncertainty that surrounds the novel coronavirus is very difficult to handle for a lot of people. Nobody knows just how bad the impact will be and how it will affect them on an individual or collective level. All of this makes it very easy to absorb the negativity and feel dread and panic at an impending catastrophe. However, even in the face of this unprecedented pandemic, there are a few things you can do to manage your stress and anxiety. These include:

  1. Stay Informed But Don’t Obsess Over Headlines
  2. Keep Your Focus on Things Within Your Control
  3. Stay Connected Socially Online
  4. Work on Mental and Physical Health

Let’s explore these areas in more detail below.

Stay Informed But Don’t Obsess Over Headlines

It is hard not to come across any news on COVID-19 these days. Staying informed, particularly about what is happening in your community is vital. However, with the volume of misinformation and fake news circulating is mostly sensational value and adds to the atmosphere of fear. Here are a few tips that can help you manage news updates without unnecessarily increasing your stress levels:

  • Get your news only from trustworthy sources like the WHO, CDC, and local health authorities.
  • Limit the time you spend checking for updates on the coronavirus situation.
  • If you start feeling overwhelmed, step away from media updates for a bit.
  • If possible, as a reliable person to share important updates with you, avoiding media altogether.
  • Share information responsibly, avoiding spreading rumors or fueling panic.

Keep Your Focus on Things Within Your Control

The level of disruption we’re currently seeing is unlike anything before. However, it is important to understand that many aspects of the current situation are out of our control. For example, you can’t control how long the pandemic lasts, if other people act responsibly, or if your community will be impacted more than others. Obsessing over these aspects can quickly lead to feelings of despair and dread. Instead, it is better to focus on the aspects that are within your control, such as:

  • Follow coronavirus guides about washing hands frequently.
  • Stop touching your face, especially the mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Avoid going out, unless absolutely essential.
  • Stay away from crowds and gatherings.
  • Curtail non-essential travel and shopping.
  • Rest and get plenty of sleep to boost your immune system.

At the same time, it helps to plan for possible situations when the anxiety and stress get too much. After all, it is natural to be concerned. You just don’t want the anxiety spiraling out of control. Many possibilities, like a loved one being infected, are very hard to contemplate. But proactive planning is one way to relieve the stress that comes with it. You can start with:

  • List down the specific worries you have about the pandemic, taking breaks if you need to.
  • List down all the solutions to these problems you can think of.
  • Keep your focus on things you can control.
  • Set up plans of action for each problem, and set them aside.

Come back to your plan only if the circumstances you anticipated arise. Don’t stress yourself out over reading the list again and again.

Stay Connected Socially Online

Young people may not exhibit severe coronavirus symptoms, but they can still carry and spread the virus just like anyone else. In fact, anybody could be infected in a physical social gathering. That means hangouts and parties are out of the question. However, the human need for social contact should not be denied or repressed. Many people suffering from anxiety, especially those isolating alone, find it easier to deal with the pandemic with online social contact.

Seeing an opportunity in the current situation, many applications like Houseparty and Netflix Party have emerged as boredom-buster activities. A daily dose of social interaction with friends and family can go a long way to alleviate feelings of dread and stress.

Work on Mental and Physical Health

These are challenging times, there is no doubt about that. This makes staying healthy even more important, both physically and mentally. Use this opportunity for a little self-care, with things like:

  • Being kind to yourself during your struggles with anxiety and depression.
  • Try to maintain a routine and stick to it for normalcy.
  • Allocate a part of the day to activities you love doing.
  • If possible, take periodic walks for fresh air and sunshine.
  • Look up ways to exercise at home with minimal or no equipment.
  • Do not try to self medicate or indulge in excessive substance use.
  • Try out meditation and relaxation exercises to find your state of equilibrium.

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