The coronavirus has plunged the world into an abyss of uncertainty and is taking a toll on our ability to deal with stress. Human beings like predictability. We like to know with certainty, what is going to happen next. When we feel uncertain and are surrounded by conflicting information, fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers the following suggestions on what you can do to deal with coronavirus anxiety in a healthful way:
1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media.
Hearing about the coronavirus pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
Try to gather information at regular intervals and avoid listening to the constant stream of updates. Get your facts from reliable sources and avoid social media sites that might be fueled by rumors and misinformation. Facts can help breach some uncertainties and minimize fears.
2. Take care of your body.
Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
Fresh air and sunshine are in good supply and exercising outside can bring much needed relief. Just be sure to observe the six-foot distancing rule. If you can’t leave your house, find an exercise video or on-line app for exercise, yoga and meditation. If you’re working from home, try to get up and move every 30 minutes.
It’s also a good time to focus on well-balanced whole food meals. Avoiding excessive alcohol is also key to immune function. Research supports that people who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and recover from infections more slowly.
Focus on better sleep habits. Stick to your regular bedtime and wake-up schedule, and adults should strive for a minimum six to seven hours a night. Avoid evening screen time, night eating or exercising right before bedtime.
3. Make time to unwind.
Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
What activities help you relax that you haven’t had time for recently? Read a book, play a board game or start a project that has been waiting in the closet or garage. Consider taking an online class to brush-up on new skill.
4. Connect with others.
Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Talking to people you know and trust can be very helpful and keep you feeling connected. Reaching out to family members and friends and helping them cope with coronavirus anxiety can benefit you as well. Checking in by phone on neighbors or people who may need some extra assistance will benefit the person receiving the support as well as our entire community.