Updated: Aug 29
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed during the COVID-19 outbreak is completely normal. Some anxiety may even motivate you to maintain good hygiene habits. However, severe anxiety may be debilitating and cause great panic. Below are 9 tips that may help you deal with coronavirus anxiety.
1. Maintain Perspective– Whilst it is normal to be concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, try to remind yourself that health professionals around the world are investing all their time and energy into containing the virus and helping those affected.
2. Let Go Of Negative Automatic Thoughts – When we are feeling stressed and under threat it is easy for us to get caught up in our negative automatic thoughts. See if you can notice these thoughts as they arise and gently step back and watch them go by like clouds in the sky. Our mind is very good at catastrophising and thinking about the worst case scenario. This is because our brains have been wired to look out for possible threats or danger and protect us by making sure we are prepared for the worst case scenario. However, the worst case scenario usually does not eventuate, and if it does, we can learn to cope with the stressor when and if it happens.
3. Limit Media Exposure– Exposure to large volumes of negative information tend to heighten feelings of anxiety and stress. Although it is essential to stay informed, limiting your media intake by taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to new stories, may be useful if it is upsetting you and your family.
4. Stay Calm– It is important to stay calm and follow official advice for taking reasonable precautions. Following basic hygiene principles such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face, may reduce your anxiety.
5. Don’t Make Assumptions– The coronavirus may affect anyone regardless of their nationality or ethnic background. It is pivotal to contribute to a sense of community wellbeing by refraining from shaming and blaming.
6. Seek Support– Humans are social creatures, and limiting contact with loved ones may lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Whether you’re quarantined or social distancing, maintain contact with friends and family by phone, FaceTime, Skype, or other means. It is also important to talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
7. Establish Good Self-Care– It is important to make sure you are looking after yourself. Eating well, getting good quality sleep and avoiding alcohol and drugs are three basic forms of practicing self-care that may help you to reduce your anxiety and boost your immune system.
8. Breathe– Breathing and mindfulness techniques may give your body a chance to readjust to a calm state. If you are unsure what to do, start by setting a timer for 5 minutes and sitting in a comfortable space. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it briefly, and then exhale through your nose for 6 seconds. Continue this practice for the remainder of the time.
9. Stay Active– Stay active through exercising and stretching. Light exercise can fight some of the physiological symptoms of anxiety.