An increase in searches related to COVID-19, 24-hour emergency room centers, and everything in between is indicative of just how anxious the nation has become. Anxiety thrives on uncertainty, and in the time of COVID-19, uncertainty has become the norm. It’s no wonder, too.
The news is full of nothing but despairing information on everything from an explosion in global cases to daily death counts to economic disaster. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the government keep doling out advice on how to keep you and your loved ones safe. Unfortunately, with each passing day, that advice seems to change. People are asked not to visit their elderly loved ones or to socialize at all. These are scary times, to say the least.
It can be so easy to let your fear consume you right now, but doing so can do more harm than good. For your sake and those around you, you must learn to manage your stress in healthy ways. Below are a few tips to help you do just that.
You must understand what is going on, the severity of the COVID-19 situation, and how you can protect yourself from catching the virus. However, you can gather this information from a single article from the CDC, the WHO, or a government website. There’s no need to be browsing the internet all day looking for pieces designed to strike fear into you.
If your anxiety stems from news coverage, the simple solution is to put your phone down or turn the television off. Make it a point to only seek updates in the morning and at night. In the hours in between, go about your daily basis and just take care of yourself.
Exercising at home is one of the best ways to combat anxiety and boost your mental health. No rule says you can’t go for a walk around the block or a quick jog — just that you have to stay six feet apart from others. If you’re feeling wound up, put on your walking shoes, and get outside. If your anxiety doesn’t let you do that, at the very least, get moving in your living room. Dancing and at-home exercises can have the same effect as going for a run, which includes redirecting nervous energy and getting your feel-good hormones flowing.
Prioritize Good Sleep
Though a lot remains unknown about COVID-19, what researchers do know is that well-rested individuals are better at fending off disease than their tired counterparts. For example, in one study, a group of healthy participants received a spray of the live common cold virus in their noses. Not everyone got sick. The majority of people who did fall ill were the ones who reported getting little sleep at night.
With that being said, staying up late worrying over your health could be doing you more harm than good. If you’re still having trouble sleeping due to your anxiety, or if you’re scrolling through COVID-19 news articles after midnight, try meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even sleep aids to get the sleep you need to stay healthy.
Wash Your Hands and Embrace the Elbow Bump
The best way to get control over your anxiety is to gain control over your health. Follow the CDC’s and WHO’s recommendations, which include staying at home, washing your hands thoroughly, cleaning and disinfecting your home, and avoiding close contact with others. If you must be around others outside of your home, refrain from shaking hands and embrace the elbow bump.
Helping Your Kids Cope
Adults are not the only ones experiencing fear and stress over COVID-19. The virus has upended the lives of children and teens across the globe. To add insult to injury, many young people feed off the stress of the adults around them. You can help your child cope better by taking the time to talk to your child about COVID-19, address his or her questions, establish and maintain a routine and reassure your child that he or she is safe. Like you do for yourself, limit negative news coverage.
Stress and anxiety can cause many of the same symptoms as COVID-19, including headache, shortness of breath, and pressure in the chest. Don’t take those symptoms lightly. If you feel ill and develop worrying signs, contact our freestanding ER to see if you should come in for an assessment.