Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you will have noticed that every headline you read, every post you see on social media, and probably every conversation you have as you go about your day is about one thing: the coronavirus.
We see the amount of confirmed cases and the latest death toll being reported every day, so it’s little wonder that many of us feel anxious and fearful about it. But if we retain perspective (which is hard to do when you are anxious, I know), you’ll notice that the 80,000+ people who have been infected is nothing compared to the millions of people who get the seasonal flu each year, and just like the flu, the coronavirus only appears to be having very adverse effects on people who are either very old, or who have compromised immune systems.
What is it about a potential coronavirus pandemic that’s so worrying?
The main thing is that nobody knows what is going to happen. Will it continue to spread out of control? Will it end up being self-limiting? When something is out of our control, it tends to cause us worry and anxiety, and what’s more, when we start thinking about worst-case scenarios, this can spiral and make us so anxious that it affects our daily lives.
What can you do to reduce your anxiety about the coronavirus?
Check your thoughts, and challenge them
Worrying and being vigilant about things, especially when it comes to our health, is an in-built survival mechanism us humans have developed over millennia. But ask yourself, when you’re worrying about going on public transport or you think you have the coronavirus and you’re going to become seriously ill, how likely is it that you are at risk? Do you have any existing health problems or are you an otherwise healthy person? Are you feeling ill right now?. There’s nothing wrong with being vigilant, just don’t cause yourself unnecessary anxiety.
Don’t check the news every five minutes
It’s perfectly okay to keep up with developments, but avoid reading every single sensationalist headline or commentary as this will only fuel your anxiety. Remember that some of what you read online may be misinformation too.
Keep things in perspective
Yes, the coronavirus is spreading fast, but the fact is, that more people get the flu and die from it each year than have caught the coronavirus. And remember, we have amazing public health teams and scientists working around the clock to contain the virus and put protective measures in place.
Look after yourself
If you know you have a tendency towards anxiety, try to look after yourself a bit more at times like this. Hopefully, you’ll have identified coping strategies that help reduce your anxiety, whether this is something like using relaxation techniques or spending time with a friend doing something fun.
Don’t alter your daily routine
While it’s uncertain how things are going to go in terms of the spread of the virus in the UK, if you’re anxious, you might be tempted to alter your daily routine, whether by isolating yourself (which you only need to do if you’re advised that there’s a chance you may have come into the contact with the virus), avoiding public transport, or taking any other avoidant measures. Don’t. This will only make you feel more fearful. As long as you take care of your basic hygiene and use common sense (as you would during cold and flu season), there’s no need to worry yourself.
Do you worry excessively, or does someone you love or work with suffer from anxiety?
Are you, or is someone you love or work with overly-anxious about the coronavirus?
A little bit of anxiety about certain things is normal, but when anxiety spills over into every area of our lives and it affects our functioning and quality of life, it could be an anxiety disorder.
How can you help yourself, or others who are suffering from anxiety? The answer is with a little understanding. The key to understanding is education, and our Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health Awareness courses can help you understand more about common mental health conditions, self-care, and how to help others who might be unwell.
Would you like to know more about our mental health courses?
You can register your interest by using the form on our contact page. The course tutor will then get in touch with you to discuss your needs. If you’d like any more information on any of our courses, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07917062257.