What You Can Do to Calm Anxiety Related to Coronavirus
As the novel coronavirus continues to make its way across the world, we are inundated with updates and new information. The uncertainty can be confusing as well as overwhelming. We can experience an increase in anxiety as we consider how best to protect our health, prepare properly, and still move about in the community.
Nine Anxiety-Reducing Steps You Can Take Now
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the following statement:
“Minimize watching, reading or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources and mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried” WHO: Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak
Here are some additional ideas to better manage anxiety during this health crisis.
- Begin by using the tools you already have that help you to manage anxiety and stress. These calming and self-soothing skills are an essential part of self-care. These include meditation, deep breathing, walking and other exercises, getting enough sleep, connecting with friends and family via phone, journaling emotions, and speaking with your therapist.
- Make sure you are using reliable resources to get updates and information on how to stay healthy. Sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO), and major news outlets ensure that you get the most recent and scientific information. Other sources such as social media, may contradict and provide false information that and help to foster the pandemic of fear-based thinking that is not constructive in dealing with any situation. Visit the coronavirus.gov site for the most recent information.
- It is important to take the suggestions of health professionals seriously. Do what you can to be prepared. Most of the precautions to take care of your health and those around you are good ideas at any time. These include washing your hands, keeping commonly used surfaces at home and office sanitized, do not touch your face, stay home if you are feeling sick, and maintain distance to those who are coughing and sneezing. If you sneeze, do it into a tissue and throw it away, and if you don’t have one, use your arm/elbow instead of hands. These basic safeguards are essential to protect you and your family.
- Protect and strengthen your immune system. You can do this by eating a healthy diet and increasing a variety of fruits and vegetables. Make sure you are up to date on immunizations such as influenza and pneumonia. Both influenza and pneumonia weaken the immune system and increase complications if you contract the coronavirus. Speak with your doctor to determine your need for immunizations.
- Stay connected! We may need to take precautions to forfeit larger events and crowds but we can certainly connect via phone and in-person with family and friends. Isolating only increases symptoms of anxiety and creates more unrealistic and catastrophic thinking that prevents us from keeping this health crisis in perspective.
- Speak to your mental health provider to ensure that you are treating underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression. When faced with stress inducing events such as this, symptoms can increase. Talk about your thoughts and concerns, your feelings, and explore what you can do to best care for yourself.
- If you are concerned about going to therapy during this time, ask your therapist about video or telephone sessions. Many therapists are offering telehealth sessions that make services more accessible during this time. Morgan Center offers telehealth services by secure video link so you can talk with a counselor from the comfort of your home.
- Do your best. An attentive and common sense approach will go a long way. The practical steps you take can help you manage anxiety as well as creating a realistic plan for protecting your health.
- Remember that this too shall pass. Understand that many of the precautions being taking right now are temporary to help ensure the fastest resolution of this crisis.
At Morgan Center we use a client-centered approach and are highly trained in several psychotherapy modalities. If you’d like to learn more about us or are ready to make an appointment with a therapist in Boca Raton, please call 561-717-2900.