How to cope if you’re feeling anxious about the outbreak in 10 steps.
We can’t fail to notice the media coverage of the Coronavirus and its impact on people’s physical health and what the government is trying to do to prevent the spread of the disease. But what about any anxiety about the virus which can also has an impact on people’s mental health?
There is understandably a lot of anxiety about the spread of the virus in this country and the impact of the spread has on our health and wellbeing.
Because it’s an unknown threat, what’s coming across is the worry of the unknown, it’s connecting to the fear centre in our brain, our fight, flight and freeze response, nobody wants to feel under threat of death and loss of loved ones.
Here are some suggestions to help you if you are feeling anxious about the spread of the virus.
1.Think about access to media and social media
Some people who already suffer from anxiety and OCD can be quite paralysed by the thoughts of the Coronavirus and may want to completely stop interacting with the news. But for others this can be quite difficult. They want to know what’s going on, sometimes not knowing what’s going on makes it worse.
Think about limiting how much time you spend on social media or reading, listening or watching the news. You may want to think about where you are getting your information from, are the reports sensationalising the situation, is it project fear? Or do you feel the media are reporting responsibly and with the right balance and expert medical knowledge?
- Don’t ignore your anxiety
It’s normal to feel scared about something like this, you are only human, we need to notice and accept its only natural to feel this way. Don’t ignore these thoughts, feelings and emotions. Explore them, be curious about why you feel this way, we can help you do this.
- Do something you can control
It helps to express the anxiety in a way that you can control. That could be writing down what you feel and think, use a thought diary, (we can supply these) or keep a journal as a notebook.
- Let it go
Once you’ve written it down, let it go, allow yourself to worry, set a time limit to worry, put it down in writing in a notebook, and then put it away, let it go.
- Bring it back to the present
Ask yourself, what is the actual situation now, in your area, your life and within your circle of friends and family? This can help reassure you, bring yourself back to the present, in the here and now.
- Think about your thought process
Notice what you’re thinking, with anxiety, you often will experience unhelpful thinking habits, such as catastrophizing, making mountains out of a mole hill, fortune telling, prediction. Bring things back to what you actually know, with the knowledge, understanding and awareness that you have in the here and now. Use coping and positive thinking statements such as “Thanks mind, it will pass”
- Health check
Make sure you are looking after yourself, doing what you can to help get a good night’s sleep, eating well and doing exercise. Reassure yourself, calm yourself, learn self-soothing skills, take positive steps for your wellbeing, all this will help make you more resilient and bounce back from anxiety.
Anxiety and the release of stress hormones can make the physical symptoms worse, anxiety links our brain and body. Its understandable and normal to feel anxious, about things that are out of our control. Don’t criticise or be hard on yourself, learn to be kind and compassionate to yourself and others.
- Breathing techniques and mindfulness skills
Mindfulness skills are good tools for dealing with nervous feelings to reduce anxiety and worry. Practising mindfulness using breathing techniques to help you relax, they can be learnt to help manage anxiety, worry and OCD rituals.
- Stop struggling and start living, we can teach you how, ask us for more mindfulness tips.