Managing Stress During A Stressful Time
The anxiety a pandemic like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) generates is inevitable.
We know that some people are more susceptible to becoming seriously ill than others, but none of us are immune to the sense of global anxiety that’s taken hold.
People are stockpiling toilet paper and other goods which can create panic and further disadvantages. We’ve seen these kinds of behaviors before in preparation or response to natural disasters, but those threats are viable and tangible. The storms come and go so we can measure the damage.
Epidemics like coronavirus are much different.
It’s a novel epidemic with an evolving global risk. For those with existing mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and OCD, the type of stress can add to existing anxieties.
So, how do you stay safe and calm in this climate without letting fear take over your life?
Facts Over Fear
Fear is a normal, necessary evolutionary response to a threat – ultimately designed to keep us safe. However, sensationalized needs stories and mass panic are triggers for those with underlying mood disorders.
Also, we’re faced with a variety of information (and misinformation) online making it even more important to rely on trusted, credible sources for information about coronavirus like the CDC .
Create Practical Strategies To Keep Anxiety At Bay
Follow The World Health Organization’s practical tips for dealing with the stress of the Coronavirus such as:
• Finding ways to talk about how you feel with others, especially if you are in quarantine (video
chat, phone calls, telepsychiatry & therapy services)
• Accepting that it’s normal to feel stressed, scared, and confused during an outbreak such as
• Remembering to keep an eye out for your children and for loved ones who already have
mental illness. They may need help dealing with increased levels of anxiety and stress.
Practice Healthy Habits Daily
During this time of quarantine and social isolation, it’s more important than ever to incorporate stress-reducing strategies. In fact, everyday healthy habits can help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Get plenty of rest and prioritize good sleep.
- Exercise and eat well.
Above all, staying calm, healthy, and informed during this time of uncertainty is essential to your physical and mental wellness. We know the fear is real and can feel overwhelming.
If you find yourself unable to shake the fears, worries, and anxieties brought up by the Coronavirus, it might be time to speak with a mental health professional.
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