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    Coping with COVID-19 Anxiety

    Stephanie Hirons RN-BC, MS, LMHC 03/27/2020
    COVID-19 Anxiety: Excessive worry about the COVID-19 virus, thoughts of catastrophe, worst-case scenarios, and having the same thought repeatedly. The worry experienced is difficult to control.
    Mentally and emotionally, it is valid to feel uneasy about COVID-19. Although these emotions are normal and expected in this time of uncertainty, there are ways to cope.
    • Lean on your loved ones. Socially distance yourself as much as you can, but stay connected by texting, calling, FaceTime, etc. Even if you are quarantined, you are not alone.
    • Express your fears. If a loved one is in a place where they can listen, then vent about your anxiety. If you don’t feel comfortable expressing your feelings verbally, then write your concerns down. Bottling up emotions doesn’t work or help.
    • Don’t sacrifice your mental health for others. If you are not in a mentally healthy place to listen to someone else’s concerns, you don’t have to subject yourself to it. Politely change the subject, explain that the conversation is making you feel anxious, or say it’s really not healthy for you to discuss the topic right now. When you’re feeling better, you can check in with the other person.
    • Take care of yourself. Do something that helps you relax. Exercise at home, meditate, do yoga, pray, journal, take a bath, do something that helps you clear your mind.
    • Stay educated, but get information from credible sources. Rely on information from experts like the CDC, the WHO, and local public health departments.
    • Limit social media. Overexposure to anything can lead to anxiety and even obsession. COVID-19 is obviously on everyone’s mind, so people are posting on social media about it. The more you check Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, the more you are exposed to information (and misinformation) about COVID-19. Try to avoid social media if you find yourself getting anxious every time you scroll. Or set aside 30 minutes a day where you do not look at your phone.
    • Focus on what you can control. You cannot control the virus, the amount of PPE available, or the behavior of others. But you can control your behavior and your reactions. Focus on keeping you and your family healthy.
    • Create a positive mindset. This is a difficult time, but there are some positives. Think of how our community has bought fabric stores out of materials to create homemade masks. Think of how people are buying groceries for their elderly neighbors. Think of how a quarantined spouse or family member is getting to spend extra time with your children. Whatever makes you feel joy in a dark time, think of that.
    Remember the current threat of COVID-19 is not forever. Remind yourself that we will get through this.
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