Coronavirus 101: Managing Stress and Anxiety

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Just over a month ago, when the WHO announced that the number of coronavirus cases outside China was officially bigger than inside-China infections, we began to see the implications of COVID-19 for businesses and the global economy.

As of today, there is hardly any company big or small that hasn’t had a significant part of its operations disrupted by the spreading pandemic. So many people all over the world are now working full time from home. With most of us being unaccustomed to this way of life, we are experiencing increased levels of stress which can affect not just focus and productivity but our overall well-being.

It can be overwhelming to spend all of your time in the confined space of your home and watch events that can impact the lives of everyone around you unfold from a distance.

There are however many ways to combat the helplessness and anxiety we all feel in weird times like these. Here are a few suggestions:

Develop a routine

What better opportunity to develop a structured daily routine that being stuck at home? Now that you don’t lose precious time commuting, eating, dating and socialising in the world outside, you can enjoy a much more regular and healthy pattern of life. If you were used to having irregular sleeping, eating or exercising habits before the outbreak, now you have a chance to introduce some balance. Your body and mind will be grateful.

Social isolation? Really?

While it is true that we cannot physically go outside and interact with others, let’s face it, the Internet era we live in makes it practically impossible to experience actual social isolation. It’s never been easier to reach out to people and reconnect with old friends. Tools like social networks and videoconferencing platforms make it possible to stay in touch with everyone we care for without exposing ourselves to the virus outside. Appreciate this opportunity and enjoy the time you get to spend with your closest people, albeit virtually.

Beware of news

All the news we watch about the spread of the virus and its impact on the global economy and people’s everyday lives fuel anxiety that can easily burst into panic. If you are the type of person that tends to overthink or worry too much in general, the pandemic can really turn your life into a nightmare now. While it is important to keep up to date with news about the outbreak, try and limit your exposure to reliable media sources only. There is no need to know what is happening everywhere all the time. Checking once a day is more than enough.

Seek help

If you feel you cannot handle it yourself, it’s ok to seek help from outside. Mental health professionals have had an established online presence long before the outbreak, and it just takes a click to enroll in a virtual therapy session or download various apps for managing stress and anxiety. Not to mention that many providers have now launched special offerings or free subscriptions, like this app which uses clinically proven content to reduce low mood.

Don’t forget it’s OK

Anxiety is a natural human response to the unknown, and the truth is there is still way too much about the virus that we don’t know. Add to that the layers of stress that come with social distancing, loss of jobs, economic disruptions, family issues, etc. and you are now a ticking time bomb!

Don’t forget that you are not alone and you should not beat yourself up about feeling on edge. The most important step towards managing stress is accepting the fact that it is normal to feel this way.

 

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