More and more people are becoming increasingly anxious about what the spread of the coronavirus might mean for themselves and their loved ones. It’s completely normal to feel anxious about this crisis.
There are some things that you can do to help your emotional health and wellbeing, during these uncertain times.
Try not to let your anxiety snowball
It is quite common that we start with one worry and allow it to develop into several difficult ones, making us feel even more overwhelmed. Our minds are wired to try and fill in the gaps, particularly when we are stressed. It is important to try and stay grounded and get the facts instead of allowing our minds to make up the information for us.
Find reliable and reputable news sources
Snippets of information from social media aren’t always actual risk/facts. Try to find verified and reputable sources to get your information about the pandemic.
Stay informed whilst limiting your exposure
Set boundaries around how much time you will allow yourself to read/listen to the news.
If you find yourself thinking about Coronavirus and what this means for you and your loved ones again, try to recognise that they are just thoughts.
Change your perception
For example, instead of saying “I am stuck at home”, try to rephrase it as “I am safe at home”. Emphasising the difference between what is reality and what is a thought, can really help to gain perspective. Make time for worry, but also think about what is in your control and what is not. Worrying about coronavirus will not guarantee a better outcome. So to help you in the moment, schedule some coronavirus-free time where you can put your attention onto something else.
Our family and loved ones can be a great source of support for us. Let them know how you are feeling so that they can provide some space to help normalise your thoughts and feelings and offer you some distraction or reassurance. Staying in contact is particularly important as we self-isolate. You should use mediums such as FaceTime and other video call apps to do this. You may also wish to write a letter to distant relatives and friends, find a new online group for your local community, or finding an online forum about a hobby or interest that you have.
Use your past coping skills
Think about what has helped you in the past when you have felt stressed or overwhelmed. It could be yoga, relaxation, mindfulness, trying a new recipe, taking a long hot soak in the bath – the list is endless! What helps will be different from person to person – use what works for you.
Consider the 5 steps to mental wellbeing
The more you nurture your mental health, the more resilient to anxiety and stress you will enable yourself to be. Strategies for mental wellbeing include:
- Staying connected with other people
- Be physically active
- Learn new skills
- Give to others
- Pay attention to the present moment.
You might need to adapt some of these if you are self-isolating or unable to participate in your usual activities. Some ideas include:
- Trying a new exercise regime at home
- Making time for a long phone call to a friend
- Finding a new hobby
- Practicing a mindfulness exercise