Some tips to manage anxiety in managing the Coronavirus situation

By March 20, 2020 Health & Nutrition

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At this point feeling at least a little anxious about the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Which, understandable. There’s plenty to be anxious about: the virus itself, how our country is handling the situation, financial and practical concerns around workplace and school closures, and the many unanswered questions still floating around. Of course, given the situation, some anxiety is okay and even helpful. And if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, you’re not alone. The author has presented some tips to manage the anxiety basis discussion with experts. You may find them useful as you deal with this unprecedented situation. Team RetyrSmart

Some tips to manage anxiety in managing the Coronavirus situation

Here’s some advice that might help right now.

  1. Don’t try to figure out the difference between “reasonable anxiety” and “too much anxiety.”

It’s more helpful to pay attention to when your anxiety interferes with your ability to take care of yourself. There’s no “anxious enough” bar you have to pass to start actively trying to mitigate the new coronavirus’s impact on your mental health. Times are stressful, so regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of coronavirus anxiety right now, look after yourself using the tips on this list. If you have a hard time doing that, prioritize asking for help (more on that later).

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  1. Limit where you get updates about the new coronavirus.

This is the big one. Because the situation is ongoing, you might feel the need to remain super plugged in, whether that’s by continuously scrolling Twitter or always having a news channel on in the background. And that’s not great. Staying up on the facts is a good way to manage anxiety and keep things in perspective to a point, but remaining too plugged in is just a recipe for anxiety.

So what do you do instead? Get your updates from a limited number of trustworthy sources and try to drown out the rest of the noise. “It’s important to find sources that provide information the public needs to hear in a non-panicked, non-frenzied way,”

  1. Control how you get updates.

Trusted sources aside, I also have a few tips around managing news consumption as an anxious human who has to live on the internet for work, often during times of public stress.

Put little boundaries in place that help you stay on top of news in a mindful way instead of a passive way. Rules like: I won’t scroll through Twitter in bed; I’ll only check the news on my lunch break and at dinner; I’m going to turn off push notifications; I can only read the news for an hour every day. What’s actually realistic and helpful for you will vary, but you get the idea.

  1. Focus on what else you can control.

Anxiety thrives on doubt and uncertainty. And right now, doubt and uncertainty are really hard to avoid as scientists work to find answers about the new coronavirus and countries scramble to make decisions about how to deal. In the face of all that uncertainty, it can be important to focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t.

Luckily, there are quite a few things you can control—specifically, sticking to the prevention recommendations and about things to do if you’re worried about the new coronavirus, including creating an emergency kit and brushing up on your emergency plan.

  1. Remember you don’t always have to act on your anxieties.

Preparation is good, but so is mindfulness. If you stick to official recommendations in your area and for your population group, you don’t have to go super above and beyond in all of your decision-making.

The reason this is important—especially where leaving your house is concerned—is because anxiety feeds on isolation and inactivity. Not only can isolation be bad for your mental health in general, but it gives you more time to stew in obsessive thoughts.  “Essentially, you’re replaying the same thing until you get bored,” she says. “You become so mentally exhausted from hearing the same story and eventually you’re able to zoom out of your fear and get a better perspective based on reality, instead of what your mind is emotionally latched onto.”

  1. Do a guided meditation.

If you’re struggling to shut off a nonstop stream of anxious mental chatter, I recommend it. My go-to recommendation is Headspace because of how beginner-friendly it is. That said, there are also guided meditations all over the internet. The meditation app Simple Habit recently launched a series specifically for coping with new coronavirus fears, including meditations to “Accept Unpredictability” and to “Ease Travel Fears.” While I can’t vouch for all of them—nor can we predict if they’ll remain relevant as things continue to unfold—I did find the ones I listened to helpful in their specificity.

  1. Stay connected to other people.

Since anxiety breeds in isolation, it’s important to do what we can to stay socially connected. You might have to get creative about how you do this. Staying connected might look different for you. Maybe you’ll take advantage of voice chat while online gaming or join a Slack channel (basically a chatroom used in a lot of workplaces, but people use it for social purposes too). Maybe you and your friends can start cooking together instead of going out. The point is that it might take more effort now than it did before to keep the same level of social support.

  1. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can with the available information.

Like we mentioned earlier, anxiety feeds on uncertainty, which there’s certainly a lot of right now. Should you cancel your trip? Should you avoid the subway? What about the gym? There are a lot of questions out there, all with the same unsatisfying answer: Stay on top of recommendations, and beyond that, use your best judgment. But I don’t have “best judgment,” I have anxiety!!!

The best thing you can do in response to this outrageously frustrating and anxiety-inducing dilemma is try to take some of the pressure off. We’re all obsessed with making the “right” decisions to avoid the new coronavirus—and get caught up imagining what will happen if we make the “wrong” decisions—but frankly, a lot of it is beyond our control.

  1. Tap into some professional help.

I only list this last because it’s a good note to end on—not because you have to try to manage all on your own before bringing in professional reinforcements. If you’re feeling anxious about the new coronavirus at any point, you should discuss it with your therapist if you have one or seek out someone to talk to if you think it might be helpful.

Beyond that, be kind to yourself. Managing anxiety at a time like this is going to be a challenge. We’ll have good days and bad days, and the coping skill that works today might not work tomorrow. But—believe me when I say I know how cheesy this is, but I mean it—we’re not alone, and we’re doing the best we can. And right now, that has to be good enough for me.

The situation with coronavirus is evolving rapidly. The advice and information in this story is accurate as of press time, but it’s possible that some data points and recommendations have changed since publication. We encourage readers to stay up to date on news and recommendations for their community by checking with their local public health department.

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