The uncertainty about COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus, has created a buzz of public anxiety. So if you find yourself starting to get worked up and overwhelmed at the thought of COVID-19, you’re not alone.
“For everything that we don’t know about COVID-19, there’s a lot that we do know,” says Susan Rehm, MD, infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. “Coronaviruses are a special class of cold viruses—and the good news here is that we know how to manage people with respiratory viruses.”
Dr. Rehm says that when it comes to easing fear and anxiety around COVID-19, take these two things into consideration:
- Doctors know what to do and have been trained to manage respiratory illnesses.
- You can take steps to protect yourself and others, which include washing your hands, using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, not touching your face, avoiding those who are sick, avoiding crowds, and staying home if you’re not feeling well.
Ways to manage your anxiety about coronavirus
Dr. Rehm urges caution, but within reason, regarding COVID-19. She offers the following tips to help you get a handle on the situation.
Get your facts straight. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest news from trusted sources regarding COVID-19. Be careful about what you read on the internet, especially comments and articles that are being shared via social media. The most reliable and trusted sources include the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to your local Health Districts and Hospitals.
Keep things in perspective. Although you’ll want to stay informed about COVID-19, it’s important to focus on what you can control. Take a break from media coverage or social media if you find yourself panicking about the news or an article you just read online. If talking endlessly about coronavirus is upsetting to you, change the topic of conversation when you can.
Be mindful and self-aware. Not everyone you come in contact with has been exposed to COVID-19. Although caution and preventative measures are extremely important right now, not everyone who coughs has the virus. Being self-aware is a big component of easing public anxiety. Focus on what you can do.
Try to keep some normalcy. It can be hard with trips and events being cancelled, schools being closed, and the concept of “social distancing” always at the top of your mind. But it’s important to try to maintain some sort of schedule. Routine makes most people, especially children, feel safe. Try to keep your normal sleep and meal times and focus on activities that make you feel happy—like reading a book, watching your favorite show(s) or movie(s), or playing a board game with your family. Or take a walk, as long as you’re not in quarantine, a little fresh air is always a good idea!
Remember, You’re Not Alone
If you or a loved one are struggling and require the services of a mental health counselor, the mental health counselors at Bingham Healthcare are here for you. Please call (208) 785-3800 to schedule an appointment or visit www.BinghamMemorial.org/Mental-Health-Counselors. Our mental health specialists see patients in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello.
Content source: Cleveland Clinic
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Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.