The past few days have made it clear how serious the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is. Workplaces and schools across the globe closed, all major events were cancelled and stock markets saw its biggest decline in decades. With so much going on, it is easy to become anxious by simply scrolling through Twitter and watching cable Coronavirus news.
Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, where he runs a lab studying self-control and emotion says our attention is focussed on the threatening aspects of the pandemic. Coronavirus Headlines are dominated by places like Italy and Washington where the pandemic is hitting the hardest. Health authorities are cautioning people about the dangers of gathering in large groups or shaking hands.
Additionally, with public places looking deserted and people stocking up on food, people are bound to feel that this is something dangerous. It can feel like everyone is trying to scare you and to make matters worse, you don’t have much control over the situation. Nobody knows when the pandemic will be over or when normalcy will return, which can be frustrating.
How to Reduce Your Coronavirus (COVID-19) Anxiety?
Reach out to a mental health professional remotely if you can’t meet with them in person
Use temporal distancing by focussing your attention on a longer timescale. For instance, imagine how you would look at the situation a year or a few years from now.
Limit the information you consume about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Pick a handful of trustworthy sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your local newspaper.
While social media can be helpful, some sites are breeding grounds for conspiracy theories and misinformation. You can put down your phone and laptop or consider using tools that manage your screen time.
Take time to do stress reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, chanting, exercise, etc
Do tasks around the house that you have been putting off
You can consider baking, cooking, journaling, or follow a video on YouTube
With people staying at home and taking other precautions to avoid spreading of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), can be a source of stress. Also, worries about family and friends who may be at higher risk for a serious illness can add to your stress.
However, there are plenty of things you can do for one another in coronavirus anxiety, even from a distance and help improve the mental health of everybody involved. You can play an online game with your dad or read a book with your friend and agree to discuss it together.
The main objective is to help find a way to mitigate your stress while still keeping yourself abreast with information that will keep you and your family safe.