Coping in the Crisis : Overcoming Coronavirus Anxiety
Who would have thought that 2020 would bring a global pandemic that has brought the United Kingdom to a standstill whilst plunging the world into a recession. Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China in 2019 from a seafood market where wild animals, including marmots, birds, rabbits, bats and snakes, are traded illegally. It is thought that the Coronaviruses jump from animals to humans. The first people infected with the disease were primarily made up of stallholders from the seafood market who contracted it from contact with animals. Coronavirus affects lungs and airways and scientists are unsure of how it is spread due to it being a new virus. All of this uncertainty is heightened and exacerbated as there is no current treatment and it can take up to 18 months before one will be available .
In the midst of uncertainty it’s important to focus on what you can control such as your response, thoughts and emotions as this will allow you to self regulate more effectively.
Signs of Coronavirus Anxiety
Excessive anxiety and worry ( apprehensive expectation) about coronavirus and its impact upon yourself and your loved ones.
Finding it difficult to control the worry about coronavirus and being consumed by as evidenced with continual research about it, seeking reassurance and struggling to switch off from this
Restlessness or feeling on edge
Difficulty concentrating , racing thoughts and mental blanks
Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
1. Limiting the amount of time you spend consuming media as this will heighten your anxiety especially if you’re already susceptible to worrying. Why not reduce this to 30 minutes during the morning , afternoon and evening or slightly longer if you’re self isolating. The benefits of this approach is that it allows you to postpone your worries , be present and let go of your worries and overthinking regarding the coronavirus.
2. Continue to do things that you enjoy and be creative with this due to the restrictions regarding avoiding large gatherings, social distancing and avoiding bars, theatres and restaurants. Plan the activities in advance to ensure you have something to look forward to especially if you are social isolating, home working or in quarantine.
3. If you’ve contracted coronavirus it’s important to stay in contact with loved ones virtually otherwise you may be worrying about when you will see them next and feelings of loneliness will increase. Use technology to enhance your communication by using video calls, phone calls, text and voice notes.
4. Focus on what you can do to prevent contracting the virus and follow the World Health Organisation guidelines on preventative measures which include : Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, Staying home when you are sick, except to get medical care, Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water,
washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
5. Remember that most people do recover from coronavirus therefore focus on this rather than focusing on the deaths. It’s important to focus on the facts in order to have a balanced perspective on the pandemic.
6. Take one day at a time otherwise you will be overwhelmed with the demands placed upon you as a consequence of the virus and restrictions imposed to prevent its spread.
7. Be present, mindful and grateful for what you have as this fosters optimism and wellbeing.
8. Focus on what’s in your control as you can’t control what happens in the future. You can’t control the Corona virus itself or the world economy or how your government manages this whole. However you can control what you do in the here and now therefore focus on this as it will reduce your anxiety. What you do in the present can make a huge difference to yourself, those living with you, and a significant difference to your community.
For further strategies to cope with Cornavirus please click the Guardian Video and Article or the Psychology Today Article
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