With coronavirus (COVID-19) now a global pandemic, anxiety and stress levels may be higher than normal for many people. If you already struggle with anxiety, you may worry about the impact of COVID-19 on your mental well-being. Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 and mental health, and how to help yourself cope during the outbreak.
Why COVID-19 is tough on your mental well-being.
There is so much uncertainty around what’s going to happen with COVID-19 that people are understandably feeling anxious. Jobs may be at risk, elderly family members are vulnerable, and many of us are now forced to change our daily routines. What's more, we're constantly flooded with news, statistics, and fresh emergency guidelines, and it's mentally draining for everyone. So, how do we combat all this stress and stay calm?
1: Practice self-care
With so much beyond our control right now, focus on what you can control. Get more sleep, read a new book, have a warm bath, practice mindfulness, or take a walk somewhere quiet – whatever you do, now is the time to prioritize your well-being.
2: Limit social media use
Set limits on how often you use social media, especially if you're at home where it's tempting to check in more often. Don't let a constant stream of tweets, status updates, and conflicting opinions over- whelm you.
3: Stay informed
Stay informed by reading only reliable sources, such as government websites, the WHO, and the CDC. Other news sources may be less accurate, and they may cause feelings of panic and concern.
4: Schedule your worry time
Pick a time to think about your worries on purpose. Allow 15-30 minutes per day to identify what your concern is, where it is something you can control, and if so, what you can do about it. Don’t dwell on “what-ifs.”
5: Talk it out
Acknowledge any stress or anxiety you're feeling right now and ask others how they're coping. Talk to family and friends, and make sure you check in with how your kids are feeling.
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