COVID-19 and Anxiety
How to ease your anxiety surrounding the current Coronavirus outbreak
Turn off news notifications on your phone
These days we all have mobile phones next to us 24/7 and the temptation to grab the phone at every notification can be overwhelming. Instead, check your settings and turn off notifications for your news apps. Better still, check to see what apps are sending updates and uninstall them. If you want to stay informed, set some time aside each morning and evening to log onto the Internet.
Equip yourself with information from trusted sources
If you want to equip yourself with the latest information about the Coronavirus then make sure you turn to a source of information that you can trust. While the temptation is to turn to social media for the latest breaking news, getting information from a reliable source is important. The World Health Organisation (WHO), The UK Government and the NHS have pages set up to report the latest stats and guidance.
Distract yourself with the things you enjoy
Making time in your day to do the things you enjoy is a good way to distract yourself from the news cycle. Take an hour out of your day to go for a walk or maybe find somewhere quiet to sit with a book. Turn off the TV and enjoy crossing off a few books from your reading list.
You might even want to take a look to see if there are any free courses on the Open University Open Learn website that you could take part in. Learning something new is a great way to stimulate the brain and tune out those anxious thoughts.
Talk to your GP or mental health team
The NHS might have to make changes to appointments to help them tackle the spread of the virus. For example, they may cancel face-to-face appointments unless it’s an emergency. If this happens your GP or mental health team should let you know. And you can speak to them and find out if there are any other ways they can help. Or ways that you can help yourself.
Finally, if you find yourself trying to cope with extended periods of anxiety or stress then find a counsellor to support you or speak to your doctor. Many GPs now offer telephone consultations – check with your GP surgery to see if this is available where you live.
Mute people sharing updates or misinformation
Both Facebook and Twitter have the ability to mute users. If someone you follow is sharing updates that make you feel uneasy or sharing misinformation then mute them. Muting someone doesn’t mean you have to unfollow them but it does mean you don’t see their posts for a while – and they won’t be notified that you have done this.
Discuss your fears with someone you trust
If you are feeling anxious or worried about the coronavirus then it can be good to get someone else’s point of view. Think about whom you speak to – speaking to someone else who is struggling might not be best. Find somewhere quiet where you can sit down and chat openly and honestly about your feelings and your concerns. It is easy to get overwhelmed in our own pattern of negative thoughts, so talking these though can help break those cycles.
If you prefer, you can contact an emotional support service such as the Samaritans or if you are worried about your physical health you can look online on 111.NHS.uk or call NHS 111 if you are having serious Coronavirus related symptoms.
Eat well, Sleep well
It is very easy to forget to have a well-balanced meal when we are stressed or anxious – but cooking can help detract from negative thoughts and ensure that you eat well. If you are not into cooking then maybe ask a loved one or friend if they will help you. Sharing the task and talking about what you are cooking can help take your mind off your worries.
There are a lot of good websites that have simple recipes that you can follow. If you are looking for inspiration then maybe visit the website of Jack Monroe, who offers simple low cost recipes that are easy to follow.
And after a good meal, don’t forget to wind down ready for bed. Spend at least an hour winding down from your day with the television or the Internet turned off and unwind with a warm bath or maybe a book. If you are tempted to check the Internet – be bold… turn off your router so you won’t be able to, or leave your phone in another room.