As more information and images are reported about the Coronavirus (COVID- 19) outbreak, people can become increasingly distressed and fearful. Anxiety and fear regarding this virus can become overwhelming and cause a strong emotional impact on both children and adults. While working in the mental health arena for over 25 years, I have witnessed the negative effect excessive worrying and fear can have on individuals.
Some reactions that may be experienced are:
Fears about possible exposure of yourself or your loved ones;
Difficulty sleeping or concentrating;
Severe changes in eating or sleep patterns;
Increased consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
During these stressful times, self-care is of the utmost importance for everyone. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating proper nutrition, engaging in physical activity, and getting outside whenever possible. Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep-breathing, and mindfulness could also be beneficial in relieving stress and anxiety.
Of course, we need to be vigilant, careful, and take the necessary precautions (washing hands properly, using sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing) to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but we can’t allow our fears prevent us from living our lives. Avoiding excessive media (especially social media) coverage about COVID-19 could be the best way to relieve some of the anxiety and fear you may be experiencing.
We need to show compassion for those who are affected by this virus, as well as those who are working so diligently to prevent the spread of it. In addition, we need to look out for each other and disregard misinformation about the virus that can lead to undue fear and anxiety. Last, but certainly not least, if your anxiety persists and drastically interferes with your ability to function in your daily life, please seek help from a Mental Health Professional.
Mental Health Matters!
Director, Advisory & Safeguarding Manager