The outbreak of the disease caused by Covid-19 has plunged the world into uncertainty and dread. The panic state is real. However, the stress-induced by constant misinformation of coronavirus via news and social media platforms dampens the person’s immunity system, leading to increased vulnerability to the disease. This state is especially difficult for those who have general anxiety issues and OCD. Hence, it’s important to understand how to manage our stress and anxiety levels during this outbreak. You should not take a real threat lightly, nor you should lose your head and allow the fear to paralyze you. Here are a few tips that would help you push-back your anxiety caused by coronavirus outbreak.
TIPS TO MANAGE CORONAVIRUS ANXIETY
Set limits around news on COVID-19
Avoid excess watching, reading and listening to the news that induces stress and anxious thoughts within you. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media feeds can intensify feelings of worry and stress. You need not be updated at every second about the recent developments of the disease. Consider turning off automatic notifications. Decide a specific time during the day to learn about it and don’t scan the news throughout the day.
2. Seek accurate information of COVID-19 from legitimate sources
Reach out to the right and reliable sources for grabbing information about the disease. Limit yourself reading the news from official sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO). Avoid learning about the disease from WhatsApp forwards and social media feeds.
3. Self- care- Look after your Physical and Mental well-being
As news about coronavirus (COVID-19) dominate the headlines and public concern is on the rise, it is important to monitor your physical and mental wellbeing equally. Look after yourself and focus on the things that you can really control i.e your hygiene, eating healthy meals, increasing water intake, getting good sleep and incorporating physical exercise in your daily routine. Indulge in activities or hobbies that manifests positive emotions within you.
4. Wash your hands- but not excessively (OCD patients)
As mentioned above, OCD patients may experience increased levels of anxiety. OCD Actions has seen an increase in support requests from people whose fear coronavirus pandemic. The spike in anxiety levels about the virus can fuel existing obsessive fears of contamination and trigger destructive compulsive actions. Hearing about washing hands can be a trigger for them. So it’s important to seek professional help and talk to people about the same to your loved ones.
5. Employ the “APPLE” technique to manage your anxiety
Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind
Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.
Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Differentiate between your facts & feelings.
Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, at this moment, all is well. Practice grounding techniques. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.
6. Stay connected with people
Being in house arrest can be very depressing especially for those people who are struggling with emotional concerns. Be in touch with your friends and loved ones via video calls and messages. Call your friends or your loved ones at your place and hang out with them.
If practising all of the above tips mentioned above doesn’t help you cope up with anxiety induced by coronavirus, then reach out to a professional for help.