As a nation, we are weathering an unprecedented situation. Few of us have weathered such a stressful moment. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced us into chaos. Even those of us who don’t suffer from depression or anxiety are finding ourselves, well, depressed and anxious. Those who do suffer from clinical depression or anxiety are especially affected by this crisis…and managing anxiety is easier said than done.
Whatever category you fall into, know that you are not alone in feeling scared, worried or anxious about what the following weeks and months have in store. Hopefully the following advice about managing anxiety during a time of crisis will lend some hope in these otherwise unsettling times.
Be cautious of how much news you’re consuming.
The media coverage of Coronavirus is scary and overwhelming…and over-sensationalized. Yes, it’s important to be informed. But it’s equally important not to let yourself binge on panic-inducing information. Get your news from trustworthy sources, like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and try to use social media only for staying in touch with your friends and loved ones.
Err on the less-obsessive side.
Wash your hands…but not obsessively. Use and sanitizer…in moderation. Obsessive or compulsive behaviors—especially those associated with being sick—can trigger anxiety, especially when adhering to them feels forced or rigid. When you was your hands, ask yourself if you’re doing so out of necessity…or out of ritual.
Stay connected with friends and family.
Check in on the people you care about. Maintaining relationships as we’re forced into isolation is so important! Use video conferencing technologies, like Skype, FaceTime and Zoom, to schedule regular “meetings” with your friends and family. Use Netflix Party to watch movies “together.” Maybe you can even do a virtual yoga class or workout together. Whatever it takes, just stay connected.
Be proactive about your mental health.
There are weeks, if not months, of social distancing in our future. If you feel yourself moving towards a mental health crisis, there are helplines in place, plus many online counseling resources that you can take advantage of. In fact, your therapist may already be offering virtual session—most are! Also, be proactive about your medications and make sure you have enough on-hand to prevent unnecessary trips out of the house.
And remember…practice gratitude. Studies show that to benefit your physical, mental, emotional and social well being.