The Coronavirus talk is everywhere, it’s inescapable at the moment and it is a particularly difficult time all around, particularly for those with preexisting health conditions or those who are vulnerable.
The mass panic of the COVID-19 might feel like a stretch to some, but health anxiety is very real and can become even more difficult to manage during a time of crisis. You can follow the NHS health guidelines here.
For those with high anxiety, particularly health anxiety, this can be a real cause of concern because at the moment, the health implications are very real and that can be really hard to rationalise.
This is the first time that this generation has faced an epidemic on such a large scale and it is natural to feel worried and concerned by the ongoing health events, even if you are not usually a particularly anxious person.
This post is going to be short and sweet to offer some tips on how you can manage your anxiety while we continue to experience the Coronavirus outbreak.
1. Remember this too shall pass
The Coronavirus is on everybody’s mind and is the topic of hot conversation at the moment, and while we are currently in the middle of it, there will be a time when it is all over. It can be extremely difficult to sit with the unknown, be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel anxious and this too shall pass.
2. Avoid excessive news watching
It’s important to stay informed with what is happening, but only watch what you need to know. Excessively watching or reading every news story will only continue to exacerbate your anxious feelings. Be mindful to switch off once you have you have received the necessary information.
3. Stay connected where possible
There may be times where you have to cancel your plans and have to manage the disappointment of missing out on things you were looking forward to.
Look after your health by taking the right precautions, but it’s also important to try to stay connected with friends and family the best way that you can. You may not be able to stay physically connected but feeling socially connected now is more important than ever.
Stay in touch with phone calls, text messages, Face Time, Skype, emails. Even when isolated, try not to completely isolate yourself from feeling emotionally connected to others.
4. Use a healthy distraction
Do something that you enjoy that you can use as a healthy distraction. Listening to your favourite music, watching your favourite film, going for a walk or spending some time outside in the fresh air can help you to get out of your own head where this is possible. Play board games, declutter your space or use the time to complete some life admin, these can all be useful ways to help to distract yourself.
5. Use coping statements
Coping statements can be useful to remind yourself how to be accepting of what we are not in control of and cannot change. It’s completely normal to feel more anxious than usual under the circumstances. Take a deep breath and remember to tell yourself, out loud if you need to.
Here are some statements that you can use:
In this moment I’m okay, its normal to feel anxious
This feeling will pass
I can get through this
Trying to fight this feeling will not make it go away. I will relax and allow this feeling to pass.
If some of these statements do not feel true, you can start by adapting the beginning to start with
I am learning to…
I am learning that…
I hope you are able to stay safe during this difficult time.
I’m Lizandra Leigertwood a counsellor and psychotherapist based in St Albans. These are unprecedented times and we all need to do our part in minimising the risk of spreading the virus onto the more vulnerable. I am now working exclusively online, which means I can offer more flexibility and work with people from all over the UK. Get in touch if you would like to find out more or book an appointment.
Stay safe, people.