Well, by now I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Coronavirus (it was in all the newspapers!) In fact, I doubt that any other topic in recent memory has captured the attention of the world’s peoples in such a universal and negative manner. In the minds of most people, the news coming from almost all media outlets, as well as the multiplicity of officials who are supposed to be looking after the problem, seems to be all bad. Is there any wonder, then, that some of us might be finding the internal mechanisms to cope with all the negativity and uncertainty…a bit challenging to access and engage in a comforting way? In light of all the conflicting reports regarding the reported dangers, and the varying opinions with regard to the safety measures (to include extended lockdowns!) that might be effective in avoiding the worst of the danger, no one should be surprised that uncertainty-induced anxieties might emerge from time to time.
As natural and understandable as these anxieties may be under the circumstances, we don’t have to be paralyzed by them, or even allow them to stress us to an unreasonable extent. There are things we can do to help soften the discomfiture associated with what we hope will be a soon-to-pass phenomenon. Pursuant to this idea, blog.zencare.co/manage-coronavirus-anxiety offers five reasonably achievable ways that can help us stay calm when uncertain circumstances tempt us to worry unproductively:
1. Know the facts, but don’t obsess!
There is a fine line between staying current regarding the latest information, and obsessively scouring and then digesting every spurious news source out there. Let’s face it, some of what we hear or read about the virus is of questionable value, so paying attention to only those reputable sources that provide reliable and fact-based data would help to put the situation into a proper perspective. Sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be able to provide you with the latest information. From these sources, and for now, the recommended prevention strategies still revolve around the basics of:
Don’t overthink the problem! If you’re doing those things, you’re doing the best you reasonably can! If you’re a student pay attention to the guidance given by your university. You can trust that university officials have your best interests at heart and are themselves staying in contact with reliable entities.
2. Make your plans as usual, and stay in contact with your friends!
Please trust that there is no need to panic (it doesn’t do any good, anyway)! Also, there is no need to stockpile an unreasonable amount of supplies or to create a “hermit plan” under which you might seek to sequester yourself away for weeks at a time (the bug will still be waiting for you after you emerge!) Making plans is never a bad idea in the event of a much-worsened situation, but your objective should be to remain focused, thoughtful, and clear-headed.
For instance, putting together a “household plan” could be considered a reasonable way to address a way-ahead to ease contingency concerns. Possible questions to ask:
Who is part of my household, and what will each person need if there is an outbreak in our community? You might note things like special medications, special food requirements, and other day-to-day supplies.
What nearby resources and organizations could we rely on? You might include healthcare providers, mental health supports, and organizations that provide food and supplies.
Who might we need to contact in case of an emergency? Write down names and contact info of people like family, friends, neighbors, teachers, healthcare providers, and anyone else you might need to contact quickly.
As you plan, be sure to check in with friends and family about how they’re feeling and what their plans are. Doing so can be a practical resource and will also remind you that you’re not alone in this!
3. Exercises to ease stress.
If you begin to feel stressed as you plan, you’re not likely to make the best decisions, so take a break when you feel that creeping sensation of fear. Yes, plan for what you can control, but try to hold at arm’s length those concerns about which you can do little. Follow vetted instructions as best you can, and plan within your capacity to do so. If you’re doing these things, then you’re doing enough.
It’s important to remember that while the coronavirus situation may be unique, the anxiety you’re experiencing is not. So, the same things that work for managing stress, in general, can also be helpful now. Some of the exercises you can access might feel small at the moment, but keeping up with stress reduction habits can have a positive, long-term effect on your overall emotional and mental health.
For instance, Square Breathing is a simple but powerful tool to relax, while at the same time slowing down your thoughts. How does Square Breathing work?
Square Breathing is just one example of Mindfulness Practices, but including Meditation, Visualization, or repeating a mantra can also help ease stress.
Remember! Just acknowledging that you’re feeling anxious (normal under these circumstances!) can be a step toward easing your discomfort!
4. Reframe your risk factors.
Techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), like reframing, can provide a helpful structure for easing uncomfortable thought patterns and behaviors. Here are just a few examples of how you might be able to take damaging thoughts regarding the bug and reframe them in a more acceptable way:
When you find a way to reframe a negative belief, you might be surprised at how your energy and mood can shift, just by adding a more generous alternative to your concerns.
5. Begin a therapy protocol remotely (if you think it’s needed).
If your feelings regarding the recent epidemic seem to be overwhelming, you might consider talking to a mental health professional about what you are experiencing. Also, if being able to commute to therapy sessions presents a challenge, your therapist should be able to arrange sessions through Doxy.me, which is a free and secure teletherapy platform. Online therapy has its pros and cons, but if you can’t meet with your therapist in person, remote therapy can be a great alternative.
If you do set up remote sessions, keep the following best practices in mind:
Put away distractions (especially your phone!) so that you can focus on the session
Find a space where you won’t be interrupted
Use a laptop instead of a phone so that you can see your therapist more clearly and avoid distractions
Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a charger for your computer
Whether you see your therapist remotely or in person, remember that even though this situation is potentially challenging, it can also be an opportunity to work on building comfort around uncertainty.
Hopefully, the above points offered by blog.zencare.co/manage-coronavirus-anxiety/ can be of value to you as you work your way through the present virus situation, so give some of our source’s suggestions a try. They certainly cannot hurt! Anyway, stay safe, and don’t let the bad bugs bite!