It feels nearly impossible to turn on the news, the radio, even your phone, these days without hearing about the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. This is especially true in the Midwest since several confirmed cases have been reported in this region.
With so much disturbing information being reported about the coronavirus, it is natural that you may be feeling frightened, anxious or confused about the potential risks to your health and well-being. We would like to share some useful information provided by the World Health Organization, as well as some ways you can manage your anxiety about COVID-19.
Rely on Good Sources for Information
The business model of most news organizations is often reliant on people having strong emotional reactions, especially fear. After all, when people are scared or alarmed, they keep tuning in to their favorite news sources to gather more information, which improves the ratings, in turn allowing them to charge more for their advertising.
A more reliable source for updates related to COVID-19 are public health organizations such as the CDC and WHO. They can provide updates that are accurate and contextual. Below you will find links to both of these organizations:
Take Control By Taking Precautions
Similar to any anxiety trigger, it’s very important to take control of what you can and let go of the need to control factors that you are beyond your control. While you may not have the ability to stop the virus in its tracks, you can take important safety measures that can significantly decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19.
Washing your hands properly and often is one of the most effective precautions you can take to protect yourself. If you have small children, you can also take this opportunity to teach them about the importance of proper handwashing techniques.
Not only can you decrease the chance that you will contract COVID-19, but you can also play a vital role in stopping the spread of the virus.
Public health officials are still researching COVID-19, and are not yet sure if this virus can be spread by people who have no symptoms, so it’s important for everyone to follow these precautions.
Prepare, Don’t Panic
If you’ve been watching or reading any news about the coronavirus, you have probably seen that many people are visiting stores in order to stock up on supplies in case of a larger outbreak. While making preparations for emergencies can help both your physical and mental health and relieve stress, people with anxiety disorders should be careful to avoid letting preparations heighten their panic. A few smart safety measures include:
- Have essentials on hand that you can stay in your home for a few weeks if necessary. Essentials may include
- Water, if you need bottled water
- Pet food
- Supplies for babies, such as formula or diapers
- Extra refills of your daily medications
- Soap and hand sanitizer
- Antibacterial cleaners
- Cold and flu medicine
- Make a plan for if someone in your home gets sick
- What hospital can you go to?
- Can you quarantine someone in your home?
- Make a plan for work
- Can you work remotely?
- Can you make it by if your work shuts down for a while?
- Can you carry hand sanitizer at work, if you have to go?
- What’s your plan if schools shut down?
As you prepare for the worst, be sure to understand that the worst-case scenario is often not the most likely scenario. People who live with anxiety disorders may confuse these two things, so it’s important to keep them separated.
Reach Out for Help
As always, PsychBC is here to help you. If the stress and worry over coronavirus keeps you from living a healthy life, we recommend talking to one of our counselors. You do not need to come into the office if that makes you uncomfortable or concerned for your health, our Telehealth portal is here.