Anxiety & Coronavirus

What you can do if you feel anxious about uncertainty over the coronavirus?

There is a lot of uncertainty and fears about the Coronavirus out there and these feelings can attack your emotional well-being. 

Being able to understand your anxiety is the first step in managing it. You can’t understand something you don’t understand.

In the middle of this pandemic with countries on lockdown and restrictions being put in place it has caused a lot of panic and pandemonium as people try to understand what is going on as well as trying to prepare for what is about to come.

There are many things that you can do to manage your anxiety in the midst of this pandemic.

It is vital to remain informed, but it is just as important to choose accurate and up to date information for your area. There is a lot of misinformation going around and the majority over emphasises fear to create panic. It’s important to stay clear of this type of information and take each day as it comes.

Stick to trustworthy sources like NHS, World Health Organisation, www.gov.uk or even the Resus Council UK. Limit how often you check this information as it will fuel your anxiety further. Monitor how you are feeling on the day and adjust your intake of information accordingly.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, then step away from it and do something that will distract you. Allowing yourself 15-30 minutes to get the right information should be enough to get an overall view of what is going on without becoming overwhelmed.

Alternatively, if you know someone you trust to be reliable and unbiased then you could ask them to tell you what you need to know, cutting out the information that is useless to you and may create further panic.

If you feel the need to share information, ensuring it is verifiably correct is the first step. Scaremongering is a great influencer of panic and if not controlled can affect a lot of people emotionally and mentally. 

It is important to share the right information. A lot of media is very negative based at the moment so why not try and share positive information in the crowd of negativity.

Some people focus on things they can’t control, and this is where people become exhausted, anxious and overwhelmed. Furthermore, these feelings prevent them from absorbing information properly and can further contribute to feelings of anxiety and unrest. When you start feeling overwhelmed and the fear of what if try and think of the things you are in control of like; washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, avoid touching your face, staying home as much as possible, avoid crowds or gatherings, staying 2 metres away from other people if outside, avoid travel that isn’t necessary and most importantly for a lot of people is to get plenty of rest and sleep. This alone will help boost your immune system and help your body and mind recharge. 

If you are social distancing or self-isolating it is important to stay in touch with family and friends. I’m personally at the point where my family are thinking something is wrong due to me calling them more than normal, but what they don’t realise is that it’s for my benefit as well as theirs. Using the technologies of today can benefit someone greatly. Video chats, social media platforms, and other communication platforms can give someone a great feeling of connection to your family, friends and community, but remain vigilant to how it makes you feel and try and focus on topics not related to the virus. 

Whilst at home it is best to try and put a routine in place, whether for you, children or other relatives that live with you. Be kind to one another and don’t be afraid to take time out, have a hot beverage or even go out into the garden for some fresh air. Getting out for some exercise may help but try to avoid any toxins to self-medicate anxiety and depression like drugs and alcohol. These actually progress your anxiety and depression further so best to avoid. The best thing that I have used personally found for anxiety is yoga and breathing exercises. This can rebalance your system and relax you amidst a crisis, but it is not a quick fix either. You need to embrace it into a routine in order for it to have an effect. 

Being able to help others can also help you through a rough time. A lot of people have volunteered to help the homeless, deliver goods to the most vulnerable and assist their local communities in any way possible. If you choose to help others, remain vigilant of guidelines and protection to prevent the virus from spreading. Donating to food banks is also another good way of assisting people from a distance as well as being a calm and kind influence on everyone around you. These actions will help you take control of your life and help influence your anxiety in a good, productive way.

There are many companies and organisations that people can call if they are feeling overwhelmed. Below is a list of some of them;

Anxiety UK – Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm). Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk
Bipolar UK – A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder. Website: www.bipolaruk.org.uk
CALM – CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight). Website: www.thecalmzone.net
Men’s Health Forum – 24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email. Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk
Mental Health Foundation – Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. Website: www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Mind – Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm). Website: www.mind.org.uk
No Panic – Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD. Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge. Website: www.nopanic.org.uk
OCD Action – Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources. Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge. Website: www.ocdaction.org.uk
OCD UK – A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments. Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) Website: www.ocduk.org
PAPYRUS – Young suicide prevention society. Phone: HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays). Website: www.papyrus-uk.org
Rethink Mental Illness – Support and advice for people living with mental illness. Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm). Website: www.rethink.org
Samaritans – Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline). Website: www.samaritans.org.uk
SANE – Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.  SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm). Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum Website: www.sane.org.uk/support
YoungMinds – Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm). Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

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