By now, I’m sure that you are familiar with COVID-19 which has been affectionately nicknamed “That ‘Rona.” For weeks, we have been inundated with minute-by-minute news updates that, at times, perpetuate more fear than fact. With the endless news cycle the questions, too, are endless: What are the symptoms, do I really need this much toilet paper, is it airborne, is ‘Rona going to affect my travel plans, why would people rather die of dehydration than to drink Dasani water? Like I said, the questions are endless.
Unfortunately, anxiety is often the byproduct of fear and the unknown, but it doesn’t have to be. Hopefully, after reading these six steps, you too will be able to manage your coronavirus anxiety.
1. Get outside
I’m not asking you to train for a marathon or to spend unholy amounts of time outside, but it has been proven that sunlight lifts mood and the coronavirus is sensitive to warmer environments. Getting outside and active also boosts your immune system which is a major benefit at this point. If you’re unable to get outside, opening a window and elevating your heart rate may help as well.
2. Create a to-do list
There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to cross an item off of your to-do list and now more than ever, it’ll be especially significant. It doesn’t matter if the tasks include brushing your teeth, mopping the floor, or cleaning out the gutters. The purpose of this is to get a sense of accomplishment.
3. Limit social media/breaking news consumption
Believe it or not, social media can be extremely anxiety-producing. Sensory and information overload are real, especially during times of crisis. Step away from your phone or computer for a few hours a day to relieve some stress. This may also be a good time to pick up that hobby or learn that new task you’ve been putting off.
4. Call someone you love
This one seems to be pretty self-explanatory. Nothing like the comfort of a loved one to get you through a tough time.
5. Acknowledge your ruminating thoughts
Cut yourself some slack and acknowledge that what you’re feeling is real. It’s OK to feel scared, afraid, or worried about the present and the future. You’re human. Do the best you can to distract yourself with healthy activities. If at any point you feel that your anxiety is too much to manage on your own consider reaching out to a professional.
6. Know the facts
Remember that saying, “reading is fundamental”? It’s true, reading is fundamental and is especially helpful in combating anxiety. Information is key.
These are uncertain times and being anxious is proof we’re human. I am not a health care professional, just a person who manages her anxiety on a daily basis. For accurate, up-to-date information visit the CDC and WHO websites.