Still feeling anxious or worried about Coronavirus? Not sure if it’s safe for restrictions to lift or to return to work? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
“We are fighting a war on two fronts. We are fighting the virus, and we are fighting fear. When we act on fears, then we’re in a dangerous place.” - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Whilst we can all agree that Australia has done a fantastic job of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and as a consequence, our rate of infection and death is considerably lower than in most other countries around the world, there still exists an element of fear and an increase in anxiety for many people at this time.
The introduction of JobKeeper Payments has been a welcome gift for many Australian workers, but there are those people for whom being asked to return to work and even travelling to their workplace, may cause worries around whether they will be able to safe.
The Australian Psychological Society provides a fantastic resource for dealing with coronavirus anxiety at https://www.psychology.org.au/COVID-19-Australians
It addresses the need for managing stress before it becomes severe anxiety and even panic as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Feelings of worry and unease should be expected after a stressful event, such as the recent declaration of a global pandemic and so addressing the following may help;
Learn the facts
Constant media coverage about the coronavirus can fuel our anxiety.
Take a break from the news if you have to. Turn it off, log off social media and instead seek out factual information from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert, or other trusted organisations.
Keep things in perspective
When we are stressed, it is common to catastrophise and see things as much worse than they really are.
Rather than imagining the worst-case scenario and increasing your worry, ask yourself:
Sometimes thinking about the worst thing that could happen and how you would cope if it did, can help you put things into perspective.
Take reasonable precautions
Following basic hygiene principles can really help to keep your anxiety at bay.
The World Health Organization recommends a number of protective measures against coronavirus, including:
Whilst we are all living with restrictions, being asked to stay at home as much as possible and keep social distancing measures in place when we do go out, the following tips can help to maintain positive mental health and keep anxiety at bay:
Remember to Connect with People
Use this time to reconnect with friends via a phone call or video call. Free tools to connect with family and friends include Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, House Party.
Make sure to check in with people and ask them how they are feeling and also share with others how you are feeling.
Consider scheduling your regular social catch-ups – whether it’s book club, trivia night, family dinners and schedule in virtual after work drinks with your friends and work colleagues.
Create and Maintain Structure
Structure creates a sense of normality. Creating a plan for each day with set times for each task, can provide stability and comfort at a time of uncertainty. It’s also important to continue to involve yourself in those activities you previously most enjoyed, as much as you can:
Look After Your Physical Health
Regular exercise plays a huge role in keeping us mentally well. It releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, helping to improve mood and reduce stress. Exercising reduces stress and anxiety, keeps you fit and boosts your immune system, so: