Managing your coronavirus anxiety

The world’s anxiety levels are being sent off the scale by the fast-moving developments of the coronavirus crisis.

Given the wide-ranging health and economic impact the virus is having, it would be unnatural if we weren’t experiencing some negative feelings.

For those already coping with stressful situations – such as divorce – it’s another major headache to add to their daily lives. They may also have the further complication of dealing with this new anxiety alone.

Here are five ways to help manage anxiety levels caused by coronavirus.

Avoid excessive exposure to news media

24-hour media helps us keep up-to-date when events happen quickly. But watching endless loops of the latest dire news from the UK and the rest of the world is not going to aid efforts to keep anxiety at bay. Try restricting your intake of coronavirus related news. If you have trouble sleeping, then maybe get your updates in the morning and give the late evening news and social media a miss before bedtime.

Connect with those important to you

With so much anxiety around, it is important that we support each other; that we are there for our family and friends and vice versa. Fortunately, we can connect in many ways. While it may not always be possible to share a hug with those we hold dear, through Skype, Facetime and similar technologies we can check in with each other. Taking action to stay connected in times of stress is one of the most important things experts say we can do to help our mental health.

Prioritise your mental health

Everyday life can be pressured enough, throw something as serious as coronavirus into the mix and it may feel overwhelming. Work worries, travel restrictions, closed schools, concern for loved ones…amongst all this it’s vital that you look after number one. As the airlines always tell us, in the event of an emergency put your life mask on first before helping others.
Ensure you make time in the day to check in with yourself. Monitor your mood and if it all feels like it’s becoming overwhelming, look out some relaxation therapies or do whatever it is that grounds you – such as yoga, walking the dog or reading a book.

Focus on what you can control

When world events take over and start dictating what happens in our lives it’s another natural reaction to try to stay in control. But there are things that will happen in the coming weeks and months that we cannot influence. Try to focus your energies on what you can influence or affect. You may not be able to control whether your company will be able to retain all its staff in six months  but you can do your best to re-order your finances to cope as best you can in new circumstances. At present it’s impossible to predict how long this will impact the world and us as individuals. Accept there is nothing that will be changed by constantly fretting over the big picture and concentrate instead on doing what you can in your world to stay safe and healthy.

Be kind

If you’ve shaken your head in disappointment at those piling their supermarket trolleys high with stockpiled goods, then resolve not to go that way. We’ve written previously how helping others can also serve as a great boost to our own self-esteem and give us a lift when we need it. Think about what simple act you could do that would improve the life of someone going through the exact same traumas. Do some shopping for a neighbour, contact an old friend you haven’t been in touch with for years, share a good joke on social media (we all need a laugh right now) … and don’t be a hoarder!

Remember, anxiety always feels like it will never end, but it will. However alarming the current situation, it is temporary. Focus on the here and now, one day at a time.

And keep in mind that you’re not the only one experiencing coronavirus anxiety, millions around the world are just like you.

Helping children with coronavirus anxiety.

There’s also this useful guide from Rehab4addiction about guarding mental health during the pandemic.