Across the world, everyone is worrying about the coronavirus.
COVID-19 is definitely scary, which is why it’s especially important to take care of ourselves and our mental health. One of the best coping strategies for fear and anxiety is to review practical ways to deal with uncertainty. Since we’re right there with you, we’re here to help!
Anxiety is a completely normal human response that encourages us to be prepared and protect ourselves from danger. Still, it’s easy for those feelings to take over and make us panic, and that isn’t healthy or productive for anyone.
With that said, here are 10 research-based tips to help you manage your stress.
1. Lower your risk.
For the majority of people in the U.S., the CDC said the risk is low. You can lower it even further by washing your hands frequently, not touching your face, and keeping your body in tip-top shape. That means exercising (which decreases anxiety), eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep. After all, you can’t control everything, but you can support your immune system!
2. Accept what you cannot change.
Uncertainty is part of life, and learning to let go of the things you have no power over can help you feel calmer when you read bad news. Start small by practicing gratitude and finding comforting routines.
3. Don’t use bad habits to cope with stress.
When people get anxious, they often find themselves masking their feelings with destructive habits. Eating or drinking too much, for example, can have negative effects on your health and goes against the advice to take care of yourself.
Try to channel your worries into enjoyable, productive hobbies that will soothe your fears. Maybe now is the perfect time to rearrange your messy basement or learn how to crochet!
4. Acknowledge your anxiety.
Don’t beat yourself up for being fearful. You’re having a perfectly normal reaction to stress, so be kind to yourself and look for signs that you’re falling into a harmful fear spiral.
5. Limit your media exposure.
All these ever-changing news stories can be overwhelming! There is such a thing as having too much information, especially when there are so many rumors floating around on the web. If you find yourself scouring your Facebook feed and wallowing in breaking news stories, you’re probably going to start feeling more anxious. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break until we have a better handle on the situation.
Pick one or two reliable news sources (the CDC is a good place to start) and try to avoid reading or watching too much negative news.
6. Turn your attention to helping others.
It’s important to remember we’re all in this together! We need to practice social distancing while still looking out for our friends and neighbors.
Remember to text or call your loved ones to see how they’re faring. If you are stocking your cabinets with emergency rations, consider buying extras to donate to your local food bank. Helping others always has a positive effect, not just on those you’re helping, but also on you!
7. Make some sacrifices to help the world.
Now isn’t the best time to make travel plans. As more countries restrict access, we need to remember that social distancing helps everyone. Consider canceling your upcoming travel plans and stay as close to home as possible. Avoid large groups and gatherings, but don’t let fear run your life. These are just precautions you can take to control your risk.
8. Talk to a professional.
If you’re really feeling overwhelmed, there’s no shame in seeking help from a therapist. They can help you find coping mechanisms to get you through these tough times.
9. Stay strong for your loved ones.
Your loved ones rely on you, especially if you have children. By taking care of yourself, keeping close to home, and managing your own stress levels, you’re also helping them. It’s kind of like putting on your own oxygen mask before you assist others.
10. Remember that humans are resilient!
The human race has overcome so much, and we will overcome this virus too. This very minute, scientists from all over the world are working to create a vaccine and find a cure. Trust in their abilities and remember, our innovations have landed people on the moon!
We will get through this! In the meantime, we’ll keep bringing you every positive story, funny video, and heartwarming interaction to take your mind off the negativity that inundates us every day.
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