A Pandemic of Panic: Dealing With Coronavirus-Related Anxiety
Dealing with Coronavirus- related anxiety and Panic, how? Whether you suffer from anxiety or not, the stress and worry that many of us are feeling because of the coronavirus pandemic can affect our mental and physical wellbeing.
Everything about the situation is uncertain, and it’s the fear of the unknown, as well as worries about health, finances, and the future that’s causing our anxiety levels to rise.
Here’s how to deal with coronavirus-related anxiety.
What is it about the coronavirus that makes us feel so anxious?
This virus is an unknown enemy
This is a completely new virus that’s never been seen before in humans, so we don’t know much about it, and as it stands, there’s no treatment for it.
We have had to deal with big changes to the way we live our lives
Many people are facing restrictions on going out, they can’t see family or friends, and they may not be able to work or do their normal activities. As we are all creatures of habit, being forced out of our normal routines can be very stressful in itself.
Anxiety around money
Because the government has shut down all but essential businesses, many people are finding themselves living on less money, or they might have lost their income altogether and are worrying about paying their bills and feeding their families.
Conflicting information going around/misinformation
Every day, you see more headlines about the coronavirus, and every single post on social media is about it too, so there’s bound to be incorrect or conflicting information going around. Taking all of this in can really increase our anxiety levels.
Why you need to deal with stress and anxiety
Feeling anxious in the face of all of this is quite normal, but as we all know, prolonged stress and anxiety does real damage to physical and mental wellbeing.
- It can lead you to make bad choices, including overeating, smoking, drinking more, or turning to other unhelpful coping strategies.
- Stress and anxiety can affect the immune system, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to stay well and virus-free.
How to reduce coronavirus-related anxiety
Don’t check the news or social media every 5 minutes
While there’s nothing wrong with keeping up to date with what’s going on in the world, checking the news constantly and getting caught up in other people’s anxieties will only make you feel worse. If you want to stay informed, stick to trusted sources like the government or the NHS, and reduce the time you spend on social media.
Get enough sleep
It’s easier said than done when you’re anxious, but try to keep to a set bedtime, and try putting a routine in place to help you relax before bed. Don’t check your phone for an hour before bed, have a warm bath, read a book, and hopefully you’ll drift off into a restorative sleep.
Remember to breathe
Taking slow, deep breaths creates a relaxation response in the body and it can instantly calm you down. If you find yourself getting stressed, worried, or wound up, just take a moment to breathe and see what a difference it makes.
Focus on what you CAN control
Much about this situation is out of our control and that’s what is so anxiety-provoking. Instead of worrying about what you can’t control and wasting a lot of time and energy, focus on what you can control, like washing your hands, staying a safe distance away from others when you’re out and about, self-isolating if necessary, and looking after your own physical and mental health.
Stick to a routine and make time for things you enjoy
Even if you’re stuck at home, keeping to some sort of routine will help maintain your sanity. Eat well, take some exercise (there are plenty of options online if you can’t get out), get plenty of sleep, relax, and make time to do things you enjoy.
Are you struggling with anxiety related to the coronavirus, or with the pressures of life in general?
I know this is a very testing time for so many people, and that’s why I want to do my bit to help. I’ll be uploading recordings and resources to my website, and I’ll be sharing them in my newsletters to help you manage your anxiety and other issues during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
Share this blog far and wide with anyone you think will find it useful, especially NHS staff and keyworkers, who’ll need some stress-relief now more than ever.
You can sign up for my newsletter here and get your FREE first download to help you reduce your anxiety during these coming weeks. It will be due out next week. Protect yourself and take control of your own thoughts and emotions, you really do have a choice and you deserve it! Please help spread the word into your community.