Coping mechanism for managing COVID-19 related anxiety

We can all agree that the global pandemic of COVID 19 was not part of our plans for 2020. It caught us off guard and for those who suffer from anxiety it has become an additional trigger.

Our lives as we know it is changing daily as the government makes decisions to manage the global crisis. “Everyone must practice social distancing until further notice.” Gone are the days where you could freely visit your loved ones. The reality is every human interaction has the potential to contribute to the spread of Coronavirus.

With the drastic changes to our way of lives, it is not a surprise that many are finding it difficult to adjust. Working from home has become the new normal for many and home schooling children is a skill some have had to learn. We are facing a common challenge that unites us.

As the death toll increases, so does the anxiety around the coronavirus. The impact of the COVID-19 related fear is what we’ve seen manifest in disturbing behaviours such as bulk buying, the spread of 5G conspiracy theories and counterfeit “cures”.

In order to maintain a good mental and physical health it is important that we find ways to keep calm and adapt.

Below are a few copying mechanisms I have applied during the current crisis.

1) Acceptance is key to getting over the feeling of frustration.

I went through a series of emotions at the beginning of the pandemic. I had a number of major events that had to be cancelled which was disheartening, however once I accepted the fact that things were out of my control I began to think of ways that I could make the most out of the situation. Having said this, it has now been three weeks of the lock down and many of us who had experienced acceptance are starting to experience frustration all over again. In moments like this, it is important to remind ourselves of the reasons why the restrictions were put in place. In the UK alone there has been 5373 deaths and globally a total of 72,638 lives has been lost to the Coronavirus. This is a number that will unfortunately continue to increase. The admission of the Prime minister Boris Johnson to the intensive care unit is a reminder of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is clear that we cannot relax on our efforts to stay at home and that whilst it might be frustrating this will not last forever.

2) Make a list of things you can still do whilst in self isolation.

I am not here to tell you to make a business plan or learn a new skill. It is important to prioritise your well-being in times of trauma, this might mean productivity takes a backseat whilst wellness takes centre stage. It all depends on your situation.

Making a list of hobbies that I could do at home helped me overcome some negative thoughts surrounding staying at home. I realised that a large amount of what I love to do are indoor activities.

I am a selective extrovert which means I naturally spend a lot of time indoors and only tend to leave the house for social events that involve a trusted network of people I have known over the years.

If you find that there isn’t a lot of things you can do at home, then it’s time to get creative. For example if one of your favourite thing to do is to go out with friend, there are a number of apps that you can use to have group calls i.e Skype, House Party, Zoom etc . Although it might not make up for the physical touch you might be missing, you can still connect with your friends and perhaps plan the activities you would like to do once things get better. Finding alternative ways to have fun can be fun in itself, for example having a movie night indoors with an array of your favourite snacks can be just as fulfilling as going to the cinema.

(3) Practice self soothing when feeling overwhelmed

It is crucial for our mental health that we all practice self soothing in moments of heightened stress. To simply put it, we need to learn ways to calm our worries concerning the virus. Practising deep breathing exercises can be beneficial in moments where you are overwhelmed with anxiety.

Psychologist state that positive affirmations regarding your health is also beneficial. I believe that whilst this is true, prayer as personally being most effective. In times of panic I ask God to look after me and those I love, I find that after praying I feel a lot calmer and have a sense of peace. If you are not a Christian, I’d still encourage you to pray, what we are experiencing is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Humble yourself and ask for help.

If the above sounds a bit much for you practice saying positive words about your health, as strange as it sounds, saying a few positive words such as “I am feeling great and healthy! I will be fine,” can elevate negative thoughts surrounding contracting the virus.

(4) Get into a good daily routine

I start my day with a 30 minute workout before getting ready for work, it allows me to start the day with a positive attitude and also gives me a sense of achievement before tackling other tasks.

Also follow the tips below which I recently shared on Instagram

Please stay safe and stay at home!

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