In the wake of the evolving pandemic we all find ourselves in unchartered territory. To date I have been reluctant to produce material related to the Corona virus for our community as I did not want to add to the anxiety and panic that it is causing.
But as the panic rises, I feel as a Clinical Psychologist I need to use my tools of trade to help my community in any way possible. As I speak to people, I know they are feeling anxious. Anxiety is something that I know how to help with. And as such I offer you these ideas to help you at the current time manage your anxiety and your wellbeing.
Limit media exposure and focus on the facts from reliable sources
As I scroll through my email inbox, my Facebook news feed or turn on the television I cannot help but be bombarded with information about this virus and it’s impact. It can be overwhelming and induces understandable worry.
As such I recommend that you limit your exposure to the media during this time. This may be challenging as there is a tendency in us to use information to create certainty, but too much information also leads to overwhelm.
I also advise that you limit your information to well informed factual information such the Health department or World Health Organsiation.
- Keep things in perspective
Uncertainty and worry lead to stress. And stress leads to us seeing the worst in a situation. And sadly, stress lowers our immune response. Read more about this in tip 4.
We need to take some perspective, I find the media doesn’t help here. They tend to present things in ways that exaggerate the size of the problem. Compare the headline ‘1000 new cases of the virus occurred today’ versus ‘Less than 0.05% of the population has contracted the virus’.
The majority of people who have contracted this virus get mildly sick and recover. We tend to underestimate our ability to cope on tough times. Can you recall the last time you had the flu? Chances are it will be no worse.
See if you can find some helpful things to remind yourself of when you minds wants to run away and blow things out of proportion. For instance, I have been through tough times before.
- Take reasonable precautions
We can all be proactive and help one another by taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of infection. Think of yourself but also think of others if you notice signs that you are unwell.
- Reduce stress and practice self-care
To protect ourselves we also need to protect our immune systems. Research has shown that our immune response decreases when we are stressed. We are more likely to get this virus if we are all stressed about getting it and the impact it is going to have on us.
So, the number one thing we can all do at the present moment is find ways to relax and practice self-care. Make time for yourself, spend time with your loved ones, do things that you love doing and try to keep your stress levels as low as possible.
- Seek support when needed
If it all gets too much, seek support. Help is available and there is no shame in asking for it.
If you are unable to attend a face to face appointment, we do have online consultations available. Please contact us on 6381 0071 if we can be of service.
None of us have been through this before. We all have uncertainty. But together we will find our way forward.