In times like these, when the COVID-19 global pandemic is taking up most of the media conversation, it can be hard to stay calm, particularly for those who already suffer with anxiety. We are being constantly bombarded with news of new outbreaks and updated mortality rates, both of which work to heighten fear and bring on panic.
If you’re feeling understandably shaken by the current situation, please know that you are not alone. We’re all in this together, and we’ll get through this, together. Why not try these 6 ideas to stay calm and carry on…
1 – Try and have a news detox
Feel like every time you switch on the TV or browse social media, you’re being swamped with COVID-19 related updates? The situation is impossible to hide from and nor should you – it’s important to stay informed and know what’s happening. At the same time however, you do need to give yourself a bit of a break. Research has proven that as our exposure to an event such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack increases, so does our level of panic. So, even if it’s just for a couple of hours each day (ideally in the morning or evening), try to preoccupy yourself with an activity that allows you to digitally detox. This could be reading a book, doing some exercise, cooking, reigniting an old hobby, or whatever else it may be to keep your mind busy.
2 – Read only the facts to create a realistic perspective
You may feel like reading multiple articles and opinion pieces a day is helping you to stay informed, but before doing this try to ensure that the source is credible. For the most up to date and accurate information, it’s best to read and follow the advice of your respective government, plus the World Health Organisation.
3 – Do some exercise
Currently in self isolation and already going a little loopy? A lack of regular routine can often be a big hit to the system, so it’s important to try and implement as many positive habits as possible. Exercise is one of these, as even just 30 minutes of movement will help to release endorphins that will make you feel happier and calmer. Why not try a follow along at home Yoga class on YouTube, or a 30 minute HIIT workout to get you moving and feeling better.
4 – Reduce your feelings of helplessness
In a situation such as this, it’s completely understandable if you feel helpless and out of control. The spread of COVID-19 is unprecedented and unknown, but it’s important to remember that there are certain actions you can take to be in control. Taking care of your personal hygiene is one such action. By now we should all know that washing our hands isn’t as simple as we first thought. You should be washing them for at least 20 seconds, whilst also being careful not to touch your face, disposing of any tissues you use instantly, and keeping a safe distance from others wherever possible. Following these simple steps will not only protect you, but also those around you including your loved ones.
5 – Remember that the situation is temporary
Repeat after me – this is not our new reality. The COVID-19 situation is temporary, and whilst we don’t know how long it will last, we do know that it will come to an end.
6 – Know that you are not alone
Finally, please know that wherever you are in the world and however isolated you feel, you are not going through this alone. Viruses such as these do not discriminate by race, gender, religion or anything else – they impact each and every one of us, and we are all in this together. If you are feeling alone, scared or panicked – reach out to someone. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, organise a wine evening over Skype with a family member, or get stuck into a juicy podcast or TV series to lighten your mental load. Now more than ever community spirit and human resilience are the most important things. If we look out for one another, especially those who are deemed at risk, we can rest assured that we’re doing our best.
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