7 Expert-Recommended Methods to Curb Your Coronavirus Anxiety
With everything that’s going on in the world, we can’t help but feel anxious, stressed, worried or frustrated.
I know it’s difficult not to worry about the future, but you need to remember that this situation is temporary and it will eventually pass. To make things a little easier while we’re in lockdown, here’s what experts recommend we do to curb our coronavirus anxiety and cope with our current situation.
Stay in touch with our loved ones
It may sound cheesy, but in times like these, there’s nothing better for our mental wellbeing than staying connected with our family and friends and supporting each other to overcome this difficult period.
“You are also more likely to be able to have an open conversation about the virus with those close to you – being able to discuss the issue and perhaps make jokes about it, will help you to feel more comfortable and overcome any anxiety you may have over the threat,” says Gerard Barnes, CEO of mental health specialists Smart TMS.
The fact that we can’t physically be together doesn’t have to stop us from staying connected, not when there are so many gadgets and apps to help us out. So, start making those phone calls, Skype video calls or use social media to reach out to the people you love and care about.
Open up about your feelings
Struggling to cope with the fear and emotions you’ve been having concerning this situation is normal. Stress, anxiety, and worries can quickly escalate but instead of resisting them, just express them openly.
It will not only help you feel them less intensely in the future, but it can also be helpful for the ones listening to you and encourage them to share some of their own feelings.
Elizabeth Turp from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) suggests keeping a journal or notebook. “Allow yourself to worry, put it down in writing in a notebook, and then put that away. Once you’ve written it down, let it go,” she says.
Support and help others
As I’ve said before, helping is often a two-way street with direct and indirect positive effects on you as well as on others. Therefore, in these times of great stress and anxiety, try to be there for those who need you and think of ways you can help them.
Is there a friend or family member who needs a pep-talk? Are there any elderly neighbors you could help with their grocery shopping?
Take care of your body
Physical and mental health are strongly connected. Feeling anxious and stressed can wreak havoc not only on your mind but also on your body, immunity and overall health.
One of the most effective anti-anxiety treatments is exercise. Just 10-15 minutes of workout every day can help you relieve tension, stress and boost physical and mental energy. Pair it with healthy eating, balanced meals and lots of water and you can kiss anxiety goodbye!
You can exercise outside your home if you make sure you keep a safe 2-meter distance from other people or you can try this easy home workout.
Stick to credible sources
Fear and anxiety sell headlines. That’s why you should do your best to avoid fake and inflammatory news and stick to one or two reliable sources such as the CDC and WHO for accurate information on the coronavirus outbreak.
Don’t believe everything you see on newsfeeds, social media or receive from other people. More than that, don’t share misleading information without fact-checking first. “If you’re sharing sources, think [about] why. Are you adding to hysteria or are you helping someone get to know facts that will help them?” says psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, M.D.
Do pleasant things to distract yourself
When we are feeling worried or anxious, our mind and body take the biggest hit and things become difficult to cope with. Luckily, focusing on doing things that we like can help us take our minds off the negative aspects of our life.
“Try distracting yourself when your anxiety is escalating, with activities such as reading, watching a movie, making plans with family and friends, and so on,” recommends therapist Heidi McBain, L.M.F.T.
You might need to adapt certain activities to your current lockdown situation, or you could try something new like taking online tours of museums all over the world or playing these board games.
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep
A good night’s sleep is extremely important for your overall health and wellbeing. Yet millions of people struggle to get a few hours
“Sleep is hard when anxiety levels are high, such as in the case of a pandemic,” says Douglas B. Kirsch, a neurologist and former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Trying to decrease anxiety levels during the day by exercising and eating healthy can also benefit nighttime sleep. Also, creating and maintaining a regular sleeping schedule and practice, such as avoiding watching TV, scrolling on social media or drinking coffee and making your bedroom very comfortable and very dark, are useful. See more sleeping tips here!
What are you doing to manage your anxiety? Do you have a personal experience you’d like to share? Comment in the section below and tell us your story!