Coronavirus Anxiety: How to Be Calm During the Crisis
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Well, I was going to publish Part II of How to Create a Personal Development Plan: The Ultimate Guide this week but with everything going on, I thought it would be best to discuss coronavirus anxiety and how to find peace during the pandemic.
I’m sure many of you are struggling with how to handle the effects of the health crisis we are facing as a global community.
It’s during unsettling times like these that our mental health tends to suffer the most. So, while it is necessary to stay updated on the current situation, it is also of the utmost importance to practice self-care.
How are you looking after yourself? What things are you doing to ensure that you’re OK?
I urge you to consistently make a concerted effort to protect yourself – not only physically but also mentally.
As always, I am here for you, my friends. Please feel free to reach out to me via my Contact page.
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Coronavirus Anxiety- Dealing with the Stress of a Global Pandemic
As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, many are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety.
This is uncharted territory for us all. The uncertainty of it can drive you crazy if you’re not careful, especially if you’re already struggling with anxiety and/or depression!
It is important to cope with the stress of the situation in a healthy way – and the sooner the better. We don’t know how long this state of limbo and isolation will continue. Prolonged periods of stress and anxiety put both your mental and physical health at risk.
Excessively worrying about getting sick not only consumes perfectly good energy that could be channeled into something positive and productive, but also, ironically, puts you at greater risk of actually getting sick! (psychosomatic disorder, self-fulfilling prophecy, etc.)
So, here are 5 tips on how to deal with coronavirus anxiety and be calm amidst the chaos.
1. Stop Catastrophizing
Anxiety can be a future-based emotion, meaning that you are thinking of the worst possible scenario that could occur. There is a name for that – it’s called catastrophizing.
When we catastrophize, we obsess over something that has not happened yet (as opposed to “ruminating” which occurs when, for example, we beat ourselves up over something we did or said earlier).
Catastrophic thinking leads us to conclude that things are far worse than they actually are. Our rationale becomes distorted and we can really blow stuff out of proportion.
If you notice yourself doing this when it comes to the coronavirus, challenge your conclusions. For example, if someone sneezes, it is far more likely that they are suffering from allergies or the flu or the common cold - not the coronavirus.
It also helps to keep things in perspective. There are plenty of other dangers we aren’t as concerned about on a daily basis that arguably pose more of a risk than the coronavirus outbreak. For example, influenza, driving, smoking cigarettes, eating contaminated food, unintentional poisoning ...
Or things that we aren’t even aware of like high energy solar flare, local gamma ray bursts, and other potential threats from outer space!
So, challenge your conclusions to ensure that you’re being rational. There is a difference between possible and probable.
Is it possible that you will contract COVID-19? Yes.
Is it probable? No.
2. Don’t Let Social Distancing Keep You Down
Loneliness, like stress, is a silent killer.
As humans, we all need social support and interaction.
Isolation is not good for the mind or the body. Studies have found that people who are lonely are more susceptible to illness, more likely to feel depressed, and may suffer from long-term mental health problems.
With all the “social distancing”, “shelter-in-place”, “keep 6 ft away from other human beings” stuff going on, it’s easier than ever to feel lonely and depressed.
Fortunately, in this day and age there are still many ways to stay connected other than face -to-face. Minimize the negative social impact that social distancing has on you by calling, texting, Skyping, chatting, FaceTiming, participating in online support groups, etc.
During this time, make a concerted effort to remain in contact with your loved ones. Maybe even use this as an opportunity to reach out to people who you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Check out this video of an exercise instructor in Seville, Spain, who led an entire apartment building in a workout class! (video has since been removed)
3. Limit Your Exposure to News/Media Consumption
Every day, we are inundated with coronavirus updates. The number of people infected, the death toll, the effects on the economy, how long it could continue, when a cure might be available, etc, etc ...
It’s no wonder coronavirus anxiety is so rampant! In a recent poll of 1,092 adults in the U.S., 78% of men and 82% of women either somewhat or extremely concerned about the outbreak.
While it is important to stay current and be aware of what’s going on, there is a limit.
It is possible to overconsume media to the point that you get overwhelmed or panic unnecessarily.
To combat this, stop compulsively checking your phone/TV/computer for updates all day long. Maybe check the news once and then take a break from it for a while. (Or try a social media detox)
There is absolutely no need for you to have minute-by-minute updates and details of everything going on with the coronavirus at all times!
Another way to prevent coronavirus anxiety from taking over is to only use reliable sources for news. This helps to avoid the misinformation and fear-mongering that some less reputable sources may try to spread.
Here are two trustworthy websites you may want to have as your “go-to’s”:
4. Take Precautions (But Don't Overdo It)
Managing your coronavirus anxiety and being calm during the crisis doesn’t mean sitting back and doing nothing.
Let your anxiety do what it’s supposed to – motivate you to take action.
Go ahead and prepare yourself for a quarantine by stocking up on essentials, getting your finances in order, and (if you’re lucky) setting up your space to work from home.
But, there is a difference between getting the things you need for the immediate future and hoarding 53 packs of toilet paper, 129 pounds of beans, and 386,000 sanitizing wipes! We must be considerate of others too - we're all in this together.
If you already struggle with health anxiety/hypochondria, this pandemic is probably hitting you pretty hard. Try to remember that there are many explanations for your bodily sensations and symptoms, most of which are normal and/or way less catastrophic than you think.
You may want to consider getting more in tune with your body (through yoga, meditation, mindfulness, etc.) so that you will be better able to recognize the messages it is sending you and decipher when something is truly wrong.
5. Continue or Start Healthy Habits
If you already have healthy habits in place such as yoga and meditation, continue to do them.
Don’t let coronavirus anxiety throw you off track - these are the tools that will keep you healthy and sane during this uncertain time.
If you don’t normally practice yoga or meditation, consider trying something new. This is an opportune time to see how these practices can benefit you and foster inner peace not only during the COVID-19 outbreak but also in the long-term.
Make the most of this time by trying things you’ve always wanted to try and doing things you wouldn’t normally do – step outside of your comfort zone.
Treat this as an opportunity to grow and improve yourself as a person. Nurture your spiritual growth, try some natural remedies for stress & anxiety relief, learn a new language, work on your limiting beliefs/mindset, forgive those who have hurt you, volunteer for a cause you believe in.
Some healthy habits to consider implementing include:
I hope these tips help to quell your coronavirus anxiety and that you are able to stay calm during this health crisis.
What else are you doing to manage your stress & protect your mental health during this time? Tell me in the comments!
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