ModernGhanalogo

FEATURED: Tithe Collection Is To Be Declared As Illegal...

body-container-line-1
04.06.2020 Health & Fitness

15 Unique Ways To Deal With Coronavirus Fears

By Emmanuel Asiedu
15 Unique Ways To Deal With Coronavirus Fears
LISTEN JUN 4, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought fears to people all over the world.

This fear has taken an emotional toll especially on people who are aged and for those who are already living with anxiety disorders.

Of course it is a new virus, which means that no one has immunity, and there is no vaccine.

It is called novel because scientists are not yet sure as to how it behaves since they have little history to tackle it.

The world health organization (WHO) has even labelled it as a pandemic.

Stock market is going down and many financial experts are predicting this could lead to a global depression.

Another concern is also about the preventive measures taken; which is somewhat unprecedented in modern history.

Schools are closing, sports teams aren’t playing, vacations are cancelled, religious and other social gatherings banned, funerals and other family gatherings rescheduled and the practice of social distancing.

All these are somewhat unprecedented in our modern history.

Of course, it is humanly natural for people to feel frightened, be afraid or anxious.

But the good news is that, there is hope.

Because there are lots of things you can do that can help you control these fears.

  1. Set the pandemic in perspective

The current crisis is not the only stressor most of us are dealing with. Take for example, If your dog just died, you lack basic economic resources or your loving partner has just left you. Well, in any of these scenario, the current world crisis will obviously hit you harder than if everything in your life were otherwise moving along smoothly. It is normal to feel overwhelmed but what we can avoid is labeling ourselves as “weak” or comparing ourselves to others.

Know that everyone is confronting challenges we may not fully recognize or understand.

Another important component of putting the pandemic in perspective is balancing what we should and should not do. As a general rule, you must be vigilant rather than underreacting. Erring on the side of being overly cautious is challenging because it goes against our deep human need for physical connection. It’s tempting to rationalize our wish to have that one friend over or to see that one client in our office, especially when our economic interests are at stake.

  1. Focus on the things you can control

We’re in a time of massive upheaval. There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what’s going to happen in our communities.

That’s a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the Internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen.

But as long as we’re focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhere—aside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed.

When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. For example, you can’t control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risk, such as:

  • Washing your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoiding touching your face (particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth).
  • Staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick.
  • Avoiding crowds and gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Avoiding all non-essential shopping and travel.
  • Keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when out.
  • Getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.
  • Following all recommendations from health authorities.

  1. Plan for what you can

It’s natural to be concerned about what may happen if your workplace closes, your children have to stay home from school, you or someone you love gets sick, or you have to self-quarantine. While these possibilities can be scary to think about, being proactive can help relieve at least some of the anxiety.

  • Write down specific worries you have about how coronavirus may disrupt your life. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break.
  • Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on “perfect” options. Include whatever comes to mind that could help you get by.
  • Focus on concrete things you can problem solve or change, rather than circumstances beyond your control.
  • After you’ve evaluated your options, draw up a plan of action. When you’re done, set it aside and resist the urge to go back to it until you need it or your circumstances significantly change.

  1. Refrain from blaming others

When survival anxiety is high and goods feel scarce, it’s easy to blame or others, forgetting that we are all in this together. Our target may be a particular group or an individual.

While we can’t fully eradicate our fears, we can work to understand how anxiety operates and how it affects us. For better and for worse. Anxiety can be useful when it signals a problem and motivates us to unite to solve it.

If we make a deliberate effort to hold on to our humanity, it can bring us together.

  1. Take care of your body and spirit

This is an extraordinarily trying time, and all the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply, such as eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, and meditating.

Beyond that, here are some tips for practicing self-care in the face of the unique disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

  • Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
  • Maintain a routine as best you can. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
  • Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something—whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.
  • Get out in nature, if possible. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better. Just be sure to avoid crowds, keep your distance from people you encounter, and obey restrictions in your area.
  • Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. While the gym and group classes are out, you can still cycle, hike, or walk. Or if you’re stuck at home, look online for exercise videos you can follow. There are many things you can do even without equipment, such as yoga and exercises that use your own bodyweight.
  • Avoid self-medicating. Be careful that you’re not using alcohol or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid for now.
  • Take up a relaxation practice. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium. Regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.

  1. Help others

At times like this, it’s easy to get caught up in your own fears and concerns.

But amid all the stories of people fighting over rolls of toilet paper or lining up outside gun stores to arm themselves, it’s important to take a breath and remember that we’re all in this together.

As a quote circulating in Italy reminds us: “We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later.”

It’s no coincidence that those who focus on others in need and support their communities, especially during times of crises, tend to be happier and healthier than those who act selfishly.

Helping others not only makes a difference to your community and even to the wider world at this time, it can also support your own mental health and well-being.

Much of the anguish accompanying this pandemic stems from feeling powerless.

Doing kind and helpful acts for others can help you regain a sense of control over your life as well as adding meaning and purpose.

Even when you’re self-isolating or maintaining social distance, there’s still plenty you can do to help others.

Follow guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus. Even if you’re not in a high-risk group, staying at home, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding contact with others can help save the lives of the most vulnerable in your community and prevent overburdening the healthcare system.

Reach out to others in need. If you know people in your community who are isolated—particularly the elderly or disabled—you can still offer support. Perhaps an older neighbor needs help with groceries or fulfilling a prescription? You can always leave packages on their doorstep to avoid direct contact. Or maybe they just need to hear a friendly, reassuring voice over the phone. Many local social media groups can help put you in touch with vulnerable people in your area.

Donate to food banks. Panic-buying and hoarding have not only left grocery store shelves stripped bare but have also drastically reduced supplies to food banks. You can help older adults, low-income families, and others in need by donating food or cash.

Be a calming influence. If friends or loved ones are panicking, try to help them gain some perspective on the situation. Instead of scaremongering or giving credence to false rumors, refer them to reputable news sources. Being a positive, uplifting influence in these anxious times can help you feel better about your own situation too.

Be kind to others. An infectious disease is not connected to any racial or ethnic group, so speak up if you hear negative stereotypes that only promote prejudice. With the right outlook and intentions, we can all ensure that kindness and charity spread throughout our communities even faster than this virus.

  1. Limit where you get information

This is the big one. Because the situation is ongoing, you might feel the need to remain super plugged in, whether that’s by continuously scrolling Twitter or always having a news channel on in the background. And that’s not great.

Staying up on the facts is a good way to manage anxiety and keep things in perspective to a point, but remaining too plugged in is just a recipe for anxiety.

Research has shown that high levels of media exposure, especially when it’s repetitive, tends to be associated with psychological distress. Now because the media is all working with the same limited information, coverage can get repetitive quickly if you insist on consuming a ton of it.

So what to do instead is to get your updates from a limited number of trustworthy sources and try to drown out the rest of the noise.

And It’s important to find sources that provide information the public needs to hear in a non-panicked, non-frenzied way.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and your state and local health departments are solid places to start, but if you want to expand your options to include leading reporters or other sources that feel more accessible, that could also be helpful.

  1. Work from home but Stay connected

Since anxiety breeds in isolation, it’s important to do what we can to stay socially connected. You might have to get creative about how you do this.

Right now, most workers are all working from home, and I know that after a few days of this, I’m going to get some cabin fever.

So I’ll be combating loneliness by coworking with friends who are also working from home (for as long as it’s safe to do so) and calling people on my breaks so I don’t go a whole day without speaking to another human out loud.

Staying connected might look different for you. Maybe you’ll take advantage of voice chat while online gaming or join a Slack channel.

Maybe you and your friends can start cooking together instead of going out. The point is that it might take more effort now than it did before to keep the same level of social support.

  1. Practice social distancing and not social isolation

Evidence shows that many people with coronavirus—particularly young, seemingly healthy people—don’t have symptoms but can still spread the virus.

That’s why the biggest thing that most people can do right now to make a positive difference is to practice social distancing.

But social distancing does not mean social isolation. Humans are social animals.

We’re hardwired for connection. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and depression, and even impact our physical health.

That’s why it’s important to stay connected as best we can and reach out for support when we need it, even as we cut back on in-person socializing.

  • Make it a priority to stay in touch with friends and family. If you tend to withdraw when depressed or anxious, think about scheduling regular phone, chat, or Skype dates to counteract that tendency.
  • While in-person visits are limited, substitute video chatting if you’re able. Face-to-face contact is like a “vitamin” for your mental health, reducing your risk of depression and helping ease stress and anxiety.
  • Social media can be a powerful tool—not only for connecting with friends, family, and acquaintances—but for feeling connected in a greater sense to our communities, country, and the world. It reminds us we’re not alone.
  • That said, be mindful of how social media is making you feel. Don’t hesitate to mute keywords or people who are exacerbating your anxiety. And log off if it’s making you feel worse.
  • Don’t let coronavirus dominate every conversation. It’s important to take breaks from stressful thoughts about the pandemic to simply enjoy each other’s company—to laugh, share stories, and focus on other things going on in our lives.

  1. Prepare for the worst

Anxiety can push us to under- or overreact: So we either engage in compulsive hand washing or we do the opposite and act like the germ theory doesn’t apply to us. And this anxiety, can mount if we postpone or ignore expert counsel.

So, instead of giving up and saying, “I can’t keep my hands off my face,” Experts suggests we trust our capacity to make necessary changes, recognize where we have agency and take common sense, precautionary measures now.

If you haven’t done your best to get a couple of extra weeks’ supply of food or medication, do it today. If you feel frozen, ask a buddy to push you to act and help you make wise decisions about how much you need of what.

  1. Practice self-compassion

This moment calls on us to not only care for others but to also be gentle with ourselves. Anxiety and fear are physiological processes that cavort and careen through our bodies and make us miserable.

They will subside, only to return again; they will arrive uninvited for as long as we live. So don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t shut yourself off from fear and pain. Fear isn’t fun, but it signals that we are fully human.

  1. Practice self-compassion

This moment calls on us to not only care for others but to also be gentle with ourselves. Anxiety and fear are physiological processes that cavort and careen through our bodies and make us miserable.

They will subside, only to return again; they will arrive uninvited for as long as we live. So don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t shut yourself off from fear and pain.

Fear isn’t fun, but it signals that we are fully human.

  1. Don’t skip the self-care

Everything that goes under the umbrella of ‘self-care’ is essential right now.

Slow down, engage in healthy practices and try to sustain regular routines that bring comfort and stability.

Therapy, conversation, exercise, yoga, meditation and religious and spiritual practices are good starting points, but also consider the healing impacts of making art, singing, journaling and being useful to others.

  1. Don’t let fear and anxiety become pandemics

In these stressful times, it’s important to try to manage our own anxiety and do our best not to pass it on to others.

But most important, we should not let fear lead us into isolation or stop us from acting with clarity, compassion and courage.

Terrible things happen, but it is still possible to move forward with love and hope.

  1. Tap into some professional help

Do not try to manage all on your own before bringing in professional reinforcements.

If you’re feeling anxious about the new coronavirus at any point, you should discuss it with your therapist if you have one or seek out someone to talk to if you think it might be helpful.

Of course, finding a new mental health practitioner can be difficult on a good day. Add that to potential office closures and social-distancing measures, and you might not be able to get an appointment right now.

You have other options, though. Places like BetterHelp and Talkspace match you with online or mobile therapists.

And though they’re not replacements for therapy, crisis prevention hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Text Line available even if you’re not in immediate danger. If you need someone to talk to immediately before you find a therapist, they’re there for you.

Conclusion

As you know, anxiety feeds on uncertainty, which there’s certainly a lot of right now.

Should you cancel your trip? Should you avoid the subway? What about the gym? There are a lot of questions out there, all with the same unsatisfying answer.

Stay on top of recommendations and beyond that, use your best judgment.

We’re all obsessed with making the “right” decisions to avoid the new coronavirus and get caught up imagining what will happen if we make the “wrong” decisions—but frankly, a lot of it is beyond our control.

If you’re following all the available recommendations and making thoughtful decisions, you’re doing the best you can.

While we can’t drive fear off with a big stick, we can learn ways to calm ourselves down and find a little peace of mind. Action is powerful, even if we start with just one thing.

What other ways can you think of that can help us deal with coronavirus fears?

Leave a comment below and let us learn from you.

If you like this content and the information in here makes sense to you, please share with our friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and all your other social media platforms.

body-container-line