Coronavirus Anxiety and Tips for Managing It

man suffering from depression during coronavirus

Ruthless. That’s one way to describe the COVID-19 virus currently sweeping through the world and leaving nothing but grief and uncertainty in its wake. There seems to be no end in sight for this global pandemic that not only threatens our physical disposition but our mental health as well. More than 20 million Americans suffer from anxiety and panic disorders, and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has served to worsen the situation for many. Online health forums are recording an all-time high in the number of people with anxiety disorders struggling with heightened anxiety.

A pall of fear and insecurity hangs over us. Finances are rapidly dwindling and your savings have taken a hit as well. Well-laid plans for the year have been wrecked. You can’t help but fret about how you’re going to manage your rambunctious kids and still meet up with your work deadlines from home. Truth is, there are a million things that could easily trigger the twin feelings of fear and worry during this trying period but here are 7 tips to help you effectively manage your anxiety.

Create a schedule

Thanks to the lockdown, most parents have to work from home and take care of their kids at the same time. If you fall into this category, things can become quite chaotic and you might feel like pulling your hair out in frustration. To combat anxiety and make the home conducive for both you and the children, create a timetable; a schedule of sorts that states what each family member must be doing at every point in time during the day. That way, while you’re working, the kids could be drawing or reading a book. Make sure to include siesta time, snack and TV breaks, and family bonding time. Remember, nothing quells anxiety like a well-oiled routine.

Get your news from credible sources

All sorts of websites are popping up on a daily basis, promising the latest ‘updates’ on the virus. Many of them are false and out to profit off the fear of others. They provide incorrect statistics and fabricated news geared towards painting a situation grimmer than the actual reality. Exposing yourself to false and disheartening news only heightens your anxiety and terror about the future.

Make a conscious effort today to get information from legitimate sources only. Avoid rumors and hearsays. This is the time to stay away from friends that derive a special sort of glee in reporting only bad news or those relatives who claim to know everything. Don’t believe everything you read or see on social media. Confirm information from a credible news source.

Don’t over-obsess…turn off those notifications

Asides from staying away from false news, it’s important you cut down on the volume of information you absorb. The sad reality is that there is almost nothing encouraging on the news anymore. Yes, even the real news. Shocking stories and alarming headlines have become the order of the day, and spending time listening to or reading that sort of information is a sure recipe for anxiety.

To effectively manage your anxiety during this pandemic, decide on a time to check the news. Experts recommend a maximum of twice a day and spending at most 30 minutes on each session. Don’t over-research and over-obsess about the pandemic. You might be tempted to, but don’t. Turn off the notifications on your phones, tablets and other mobile devices. It’s important for your mental health.

Stay connected to your loved ones

Rather than obsessing over the latest coronavirus update, how about you spend that time talking with your friends and family? Regularly keep in touch with your loved ones using FaceTime, Skype, or WhatsApp. Talk about anything but the pandemic, reminisce on beautiful memories and joyous moments shared, and make plans to hang out after the lockdown ends. By surrounding yourself with love and consciously reminding yourself that you have a solid support system, you strengthen your mental health and drive away that feeling of anxiety.

Keep busy, stay active

Being stuck at home for hours on end can give rise to lethargy and infinite boredom; fertile grounds for anxiety to grow. So rather than lazing the days away, spend more time doing your favorite activities. Or better still, look at this period as an opportunity to do those things you’ve always wanted to but never had time for.

Keep your mind busy. Play games, read books, solve crossword and jigsaw puzzles, learn a new skill or how to play an instrument, and take an online course. Don’t ignore your physical health too. Exercise, try different recipes, paint, dance, and even do a bit of yoga. At the same time, if the reality of your situation does not allow for such hobbies, be kind to yourself, accept that you are doing the best you can, and set small goals about self-care (i.e. go for a walk once a day).

Meditation always works wonders

Take time out to meditate. Mindfulness meditation has proven to be a natural and effective way of calming the mind of anxious thoughts and relaxing the body. Take deep breaths, concentrate on your breathing, and let the worries of this world fade.

Online therapy

Since the lockdown, therapists and mental health practitioners have started providing their services online to clients via video calls. There is evidence that online therapy is as effective as a physical session. So, if you’ve tried all 6 tips above and still find it difficult to manage your anxiety, therapy is simply a click away.

It might look like the end of the world right now, but it really isn’t. This pandemic too shall pass.

Contact New Connections Counseling Center for help.

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