As Coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads over the globe, the media’s portal of the disease has increased fear and irrationality worldwide.
The uncertainty and the sense of a total lack of control over the (Covid-19) pandemic has led many to “panic buying” and people checking and recheck the news constantly. Anxiety levels are sky high.
Now while it’s true that we don’t have any real control of what ultimately happens with Covid-19, there are things you can do to lower the stress and anxiety everyone’s feeling.
1 Purposefully limit your exposure to coronavirus on social media and news:
Now typically nothing wrong with wanting to stay informed about what is happening around the world, but when the news is overwhelmingly focused on reporting coronavirus doom and gloom (Covid-19), it’s difficult not to experience more stress and feelings of anxiety.
In fact, there are many scientific studies that show that repeated and or excessive exposure to negative news increases people’s anxiety levels and can cause feelings of hopelessness and despair too.
So unless you have a professional association with a news outlet or a hospital, and its part of your job, there’s really no need to expose yourself to the unrelenting 24/7 news feed dominated by the Covid-19 outbreak. If something major happens, you’ll hear about it without having to check the news or your social media accounts 10 + times a day.
Keep in mind that while it’s the job of the news outlets to inform, it’s also good for ratings when they scare the public. So we suggest that you schedule a time to grab a quick news update once or twice a day at most.
When it comes to social media, with most of the country on or going into self-quarantine, it’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of corona virus conspiracy theories, politics and fear mongering.
If you can, just avoid social media altogether. But that’s not realistic for most people stuck at home and feeling “cabin fever.”
So here’s our suggestion; check social media or your FB or Instagram news feed only twice a day, and for not more than five minutes for each update. Honestly, that’s more than enough time to get the latest updated information.
Be sure to stick to valid news sources instead of posts of your friends on social media, which can often trigger coronavirus anxiety.
And if you’re using Facebook we also suggest a browser / phone app called “News Feed Eradicator”, which is available for Chrome & Firefox web browsers (desktop & mobile).
Other things that you can do to reduce the anxiety and stress surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic:
2 Getting plenty of rest calms symptoms of anxiety
Getting quality of sleep every night is vital if you want to stay healthy and prevent depression. In fact many research studies demonstrate that getting plenty of sleep boosts the immune system and can help prevent sickness.
However, getting to sleep and staying asleep are hard to do when your mind is filled with dread.
So try switching off your mobile gadgets at least one hour before you go to bed. Turn the heat down to about 68-69 degrees and make the room as dark as possible.
Not only will these action items help fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep, they can also reduce your Covid-19 anxiety level overall.
3 Appreciate the safety of being indoors
Since the federal and state governments response to the Coronavirus breakout includes the closure of most public gather places, most people are staying at home.
But being stuck inside for more than a few days by may trigger increased anxiety levels for many people and depression too.
To make things easier during your self quarantine, try re-framing the situation. Engage in activities that can keep you busy, soothe your mind and soul and put your worries about Covid-19 out of mind for a little while.
Hobbies, exercise and meditation are all proven ways to bring the anxiety level down as well.
4 Focus on things we can control rather than what we can’t:
Our anxiety levels often increase when we try to control things that are beyond our reach. We can’t control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak (only how fast it spreads); we can’t control if our offices, schools, movie theaters etc get closed.
We can only control what is within our power to exert influence over. Staying present and in the moment allows one to focus on those things that we can control like for example, washing our hands, staying positive, binge watching the latest Netflix series and staying away from the public gatherings, etc.
5 Looking for a “Magic Button” to make everything better?
Since it is yet unclear how long the coronavirus will stick around it’s important to stay positive, follow your doctor’s advice, stay inside, and keep your hands clean and together we will get thought the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the meantime though, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or afraid and sometimes wish there was some magic button to make everything ok again, this might help, even if it’s just for fun.