It’s an unprecedented moment in recent history. As we are all aware, on March 11 the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a global pandemic. As a result our collective stress levels are high, and we are all putting strategies in place to support the health and wellbeing of ourselves, and those closest to us.
You can practically cut the air with a knife at the moment!
In response to this, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) has put out a timely information sheet entitled:
“Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety”.
Key tips from the APS include:
- Learning the Facts – Constant news feeds on social media and TV (old school!), can significantly heighten our anxiety. It’s important to just stick to the facts rather than get caught up in collective fear, by checking out sources such as the World Health Organisation, and the Australian Government’s health alert.
- Keep things in Perspective – When stressed, it’s easy to catastrophise. We all do it. It is a tendency of the mind when faced with something fearful and unknown. But rather than jumping ahead and imagining ‘worst case scenarios’ to be actual reality in the present moment, the APS suggests to come back to a place of awareness by asking yourself:
- Am I getting ahead of myself, assuming something bad will happen when I really don’t know the outcome? Remind yourself that the actual number of confirmed cases of coronavirus is actually really low.
- Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Remember, illness due to coronavirus infection is usually mild and most people recover without needing specialised treatment.
- Am I underestimating my ability to cope? Sometimes thinking about how you would cope, even if the worst were to happen, can help you put things into perspective.
Take Reasonable Precautions – The precautions suggested by the World Health Organisation have been drummed into many of us by now. But they are worth reminding ourselves of, as they are essential to the reduction of Coronavirus cases. At the same time, knowing we have this routine keeps our anxiety at bay.
So… wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, stay at home if you begin to feel unwell so that you can fully recover, and seek medical care if you have a fever, cough or experience breathing difficulties.
Practise Self-Care – Self-care is key right now. It helps us stay present, grounded and in a more loving state, with ourselves and those around us. Many of us now have the opportunity to boost our self-care routines. The APS suggests:
- Maintaining social connections and communicating openly with family and friends
- Making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy (with a good social distance!)
- Keeping up a healthy lifestyle including a good diet, adequate sleep, and avoiding use of alcohol or drugs to deal with stress
- Practising relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and readjust to a calm state (integrating breath work, especially deep exhales when you practice as it settles the nervous system.. which also in turn supports the immune system)
The APS then has extensive tips for talking with children about the coronavirus. Check out this link to find out more.
Stay well and safe,
The Stable Team.