How to Overcome Anxiety during the Coronavirus Pandemic

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15 min read

We’re living in truly unique times. As the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic gains momentum across different geographies, we are faced with a different statistic every day. Whether it’s a casual discussion over the dinner table or a conference call with colleagues, there is some mention of the virus, it’s spread, and the fatalities. No matter how well-informed we may be on the subject, many of us feel an underlying feeling of dread and gloom which seems to be ever-present at the back of our mind. This anxiety with respect to COVID-19 afflicts all of us, although it bothers some of us more than the others.

Whether you actively feel about COVID-19 on a day-to-day basis or not, you need to manage your stress and keep the paranoia at bay. Here are some tips you can try:

1. Limit your news consumption

One of the most obvious habits all of us seem to have developed during the lockdown is the excessive consumption of the news. Watching the news has quickly emerged as the nation’s favorite pastime! Under the pretext of being up to date on the latest developments on the virus, we have all been guilty of excessive viewership of the news. However, this is not a healthy habit. In fact, as per the guidelines on the Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak formulated by WHO, incessantly scanning the news for updates is a key cause for anxiety and nervousness. Hence, in order to overcome anxiety during the Coronavirus pandemic is to limit your exposure to the news on the TV and social media. Check for updates, not more than once or twice a day, and consciously move away from the screen to focus on other activities.

2. Practice social distancing

Social distancing has been mandated by various government and health organizations as the most effective prevention against COVID-19. In the absence of a ready vaccine, observing this measure is most likely to keep us safe against an infection. While stepping out for necessities like medicines and groceries may be unavoidable, make sure that you practice these norms when you’re out and about. Keep at least 6ft distance from passersby on the streets and fellow customers at these stores.   Failure to follow these norms will only add to your anxiety and add to the risk of contracting the virus.

3. Maintain a healthy daily schedule

Many unhealthy habits contribute to stress and anxiety. Waking up and sleeping in at odd hours and binging on unhealthy foods are examples of daily activities that over-burden the mind and body and hinders its ability to unwind and heal. Maintain a well-defined schedule when it comes to starting and ending your day. Chalk out a reasonable workday during the weekdays with fixed time allocations for meals and breaks. If you’re working from home, make sure you communicate openly with your boss and take on deliverables with reasonable deadlines. Pencil-in time for exercise and relaxation activities within your daily to-do lists as well.

4. Don’t try to do everything

Going on with life, as usual, is a hard thing to do from within the confines of the home. Taking work calls, virtually collaborating with colleagues on projects, e-meeting clients while finishing chores around the house and looking after older parents or kids can prove to be a bit much every day. Don’t try to stretch yourself above and beyond what’s healthy. Ask for help from your spouse or your roommate to help you in shouldering responsibilities from time to time. Remember, there will be days where you feel anxious and overwhelmed by the extent of multitasking you’re pulling off every day. This is why it’s all the more important that you take a breather between tasks to cool off and recharge.

5. Stop anticipating the worst

Anxiety during COVID is understandable, and in our homebound solitude, our minds often jump to the worst conclusions. We cook up the worst-case scenarios in our head and feel anxious about the ‘what ifs’ that the future holds. This practice is known as ‘catastrophizing’ and you must consciously make the effort to stop hypothesizing the future. Whether we like it or not, there is very little we can do about how the pandemic progresses and how long we’ll have to stay locked in. Worrying about how things will pan out will only harm you psychologically. If you feel like the hysteria is getting to you, speak to someone who can put your mind at ease. Try to practice CBT on Wysa to reframe any negative thoughts that you may be experiencing.

There are many breathing techniques, thought reframing techniques, and mindfulness techniques that can help you overcome anxiety during the pandemic. These techniques have been made free on the Wysa App for you to lead a happier life. Hope this helps.

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