We may be beginning to feel like we have more questions than answers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not unusual to experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Some of these reactions may include:
- Anxiety, worry, and panic
- Feeling helpless
- Withdrawing socially
- Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
- Frustration and anger
- Hyper-vigilance over your health and body
It is important during this time to not let your worry about this virus control your life. To help with your own wellbeing at this time, there are many effective ways to help manage your fears and anxieties.
Get accurate information. Using reputable sources is the best way to avoid misinformation, which can add to feelings of uncertainty and contribute to panic. The CDC website has a lot of helpful information on a range of topics related to COVID-19. This includes resources on how to talk to your children about coronavirus. For information more specific to your state, visit your state’s health authority website for up-to-date information on the situation.
Use the mute button. While accurate information can be supportive in managing some stress and nervousness, being connected to too much information all the time can actually make anxiety worse. Hit mute on the 24/7 news cycle and consider checking in to the news for brief periods during specific times of the day – e.g. once in the morning and once in the evening.
Take care of yourself. Try to eat well-balanced meals, move/exercise daily, and get regular sleep. Drink plenty of water. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. Wash your hands. Try to do all the things you would normally do to take care of yourself.
Use your awareness. Think about how you typically feel when you are stressed or anxious. Try to remember and use the strategies that have been helpful to you in the past and open yourself up to exploring other strategies that may serve you now – e.g. stretching, taking a walk, box breathing, journaling, or engaging with an enjoyable hobby.
Stay connected. Keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones through phone calls, texts, video chat, and e-mails. Being in touch with people you value in your life can provide a sense of normalcy, relieve stress, and remind you that you aren’t alone.
Get help. For individuals experiencing overwhelming anxiety and worry it may be helpful to connect with a mental health professional. National resources such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741) continue to be available for support.