Managing Anxiety Around Coronavirus
Anxiety and fear surrounding COVID-19 is is understandably high as we are learning more about the spread and symptoms. The first step to managing your anxiety around COVID-19 is by recognizing when you are feeling anxious. Here are some ways to recognize anxiety:
• Worry or feeling panicked
• Feeling helpless
• Difficulty concentrating
• Trouble sleeping
• Feelings of frustration, anger
• Sense of grief and loss
Below are some tips in managing anxiety and to help you stay focused on the present and what you can control.
- Prepare, don’t panic.
• Practice social distancing and avoid going out as much as possible. Buy your groceries to last for longer periods of time so you need to go less often.
• Follow updates from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and your state public health officials. Focus on reliable sources for news and updates, not social media or news outlets that tend to dramatize the facts.
- Practice good hygiene habits.
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover with a tissue, then throw it in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Manage your thoughts
• There is an emotional cost around worst-case-scenario thinking and is usually not beneficial. Keep a sound perspective and remind yourself that many news sources and media outlets have flawed assumptions.
• Focus on what you can control. You may not have control over others or the situation, but you can control what you and your family does.
• Be kind to yourself. It’s an unprecedented time and new to most everyone, so take a deep breath and keep a good outlook.
It can be hard, but it’s best to be aware of the situation instead of anxious or fearful. It is more difficult to address actual risk when everything seems like a danger. Cigna says, “We have to walk a fine line between awareness and fear. Try to keep your thoughts in sync with what is actually happening, not what your worst fears may be. Understand that national and international health organizations are working diligently to understand the risks and keep the public safe.”