Corona, corona, corona… what the heck, man! It is not doomsday and it certainly is not the end of times. They said that the coronavirus pandemic was so dangerously fatal, but we did not believe them because we are immune to it. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is actuating alarm for various reasons. It’s another infection, which means nobody has invulnerability, and there is no antibody. Its oddity implies that researchers aren’t sure yet how it carries on — they have little history to go on.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the virus as a pandemic. In the stock market and communities alike, herd mentality is taking over: people are being influenced by one another and letting emotions dictate their behavior, instead of taking a rational approach.
Measures are being taken that are unprecedented in recent history: schools are closing, sports teams aren’t playing, family gatherings rescheduled. Although these preventative actions are for good reason, they can also partly explain why people are getting worried.
Are you feeling anxious? Stressed about the current events? I want to engage you to find a way to control your feelings of dread, in light of the fact that having nervousness about the coronavirus won’t help you. Stress can boost your immune system in small bursts. However, if you will continuously face stress, the effectiveness of your immune system will slow down and eventually drops in the opposite direction. Like you, your immune system gets exhausted and cannot optimally function when it is exposed to long-term stress.
Being overwhelmed with anxiety, however, can interfere with not only your health but also your ability to function. An anxious brain, for example, has a decreased ability to concentrate, focus, problem solve and be resilient, which can lead to more issues in your personal and professional life.
So, what can you do? Here are tips to help you optimally cope with coronavirus anxiety:
1) Limit Your Media Exposure
Within a matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak escalated into a global pandemic, with news media outlets providing continual coverage of the unfolding crisis. Media exposure during the 24/7 news cycle can increase perceptions of threat and activate the “fight or flight response,” which can lead to subsequent physical and mental health problems, the researchers found.
2) Know the Facts
The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you need to freak out. As of now, 80% of individuals contaminated experience mild, cold and influenza like side effects. Additionally, as per the COVID-19 is believed to be a bead illness, which means it spreads from individual to individual through respiratory drops, similar to when somebody hacks or sniffles. Productive precautionary measures to take are including avoid gatherings, sanitizing surfaces, and washing your hands regularly.
3) Create a New Routine
If you’re stuck at home with the kids, that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Take a walk, go for a bike ride. You should create a healthy lifestyle including physical activity, healthy diet as well as proper sleep.
4) Occupy Your Mind With Relaxing Hobbies
Whether you play the piano, read a book, paint, play a board game or meditate, all of these activities can help calm your mind and prevent you from reaching for your phone or computer and falling into a downward spiral of despair.
5) Seek Help from a Specialist
If you have a history of anxiety, you might need additional help. Talking to a professional who can further help you deal with your fears head on.
6) Be Proactive on Lowering Your Stress Levels
Stress increases anxiety. The key is not to wait until you are in the Red Zone, but rather to address your stress before you get there. People tend to show signs of higher levels of stress that are unique to them.
Then, whenever you notice your stress level rise, do something healthy and helpful to reduce that anxiety. Jump on your bed, go for a walk, put on a favorite tune and dance around, watch a funny video to make you laugh—whatever makes you feel lighter.
7) Change Your Negative “What If” to a Positive “What If”
Try posing a different line of questioning to yourself. You can change your “what if” from catastrophic thinking to positive thinking for being a more relaxed person. For example, “What if something positive comes from this?” or “What if my family becomes closer in quarantine?” Those are questions for which you actually want the answers to be true.
8) Take Advantage of this Time
How many times have you thought, I wish I had more time to… spend with my family, exercise, meditate, clean…? Guess what? Your wish has been granted! Try to embrace this change of pace and do those things you’ve been wanting to do. When you execute tasks you have been putting off or enjoy some time focused on yourself that will help reduce your anxiety.
While you cannot control everything that is going on in the world, you can take control of your anxiety. Implement these tips to reduce your distress so you can feel and function better.
And remember, life has its ups and downs. That is just the way life is. When you are in a “down” and feeling anxious about it, keep in mind that things will get better. This is a tough time. Give yourself grace, take care of your mental health and realize an “up” will come.