A pandemic such as COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is easily a stressful time that causes anxiety in the majority. At the time of this writing, it is still unknown when we will see the peak and what it will look like. Many have lost loved ones. And many more are isolated in their homes. The uncertainty is very difficult to handle. Religionists are saying this is a sign of the end of times. This can exacerbate the emotions.
Whether it is the Coronavirus or any other pandemic that we may face, there are things we can do to manage stress and anxiety. Here, we present some recommendations.
Limit your intake of mainstream media
We live in a world of 24 hour cable news channels, which also include websites. Being plugged in, so to speak, to these channels for extensive periods of time can very likely increase the level of anxiety. Bear in mind that such news channels constantly repeat top news. So turn them on only enough to get the latest news. Top of the hour of each hour you will get the breaking news. The first 15 minutes often will give you the latest news you need to know. Keeping these channels on constantly can increase the anxiety level. You can also have a trusted friend or family member tell you what you need to know if they are watching the news.
Stay informed from the most authoritative sources
When you listen to experts, doctors, and other career professionals in the field, you will note that they speak in a very calm facts-only manner. Stay up-to-date with these sources that include WHO (international), CDC (USA), Government of Canada, UK Government, Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, or your local counterpart organization. Most government and health officials’ press conferences and updates are live-streamed on Youtube, so you can watch authorities who are on the ground talk about what is the latest information and skip the hype.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has set up a page for Stress and Coping.
Keep in Touch with Friends and Family
Through the Internet, we are able to keep in touch with loved ones. This can be the best time to look up friends we haven’t spoken with in a long time and reconnect. Doing this will help you feel less isolated and create an emotional support network even though you are self-quarantining. You can use apps such as Skype, Apple FaceTime, or similar alternatives.
Keep a Daily Routine
Keeping a daily routine will give you a sense of control and keep your mind occupied. Including things such as self-care, healthy meals, exercise, cleanliness of body and surroundings will improve your mental state. Additionally, many people start the day with a coffee (or tea) and reading spiritual texts, such as the Bible, or portion of a self-help book they enjoy. Before going to bed, they may listen to relaxing music or relaxation sounds. These have a calming affects. Find what helps you to calm anxious thoughts and practice that.
Limit How Much Time You Spend on Streaming Entertainment
In the initial days you stay at home, it is tempting to binge on shows you like or haven’t seen yet. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some entertainment. But spending all of your time watching shows and movies days on end, will eventually lead you to getting bored and feeling empty. Nothing will improve in the quality of your life and the reality may cause your anxiousness to return or even increase. In the next sub-heading we offer some suggestions you can spend your time wisely.
Use Your Time to Benefit Yourself
With the stay-at-home order, we now have a lot of time that wasn’t available before. For many people, this alone is a source of anxiety because all of their life they were always busy, always doing something. Now they are stuck at home and find it very difficult to be so limited in movement and all their previous activities halted. Thanks to the Internet, we can keep our minds busy in very productive ways that can have a positive effect on our future, after the crisis is over. Here are some ways we can use our isolation to improve the quality of our lives.
Write a book – Have you always wanted to write a book but didn’t have the time? Now is your opportunity. You can write a fiction, instructional, a biography, self-help, or some other subject you have a passion for.
Learn a new language – Maybe you started to learn a new language but life got in the way. Now you have the time. There are many websites that help you learn one-on-one via Skype, or download audio/video, for a low cost.
Start an Online Business – With a simple Google or Bing search, you can find many resources and ideas for starting an online business. Most are relatively low cost and easy to start.
Start a Blog – Blogs can be very therapeutic. You can start a blog on virtually any topic that you have a passion for. Perhaps you can share your experiences in self-quarantine. Express your concerns and fears. Things that you are doing to cope with the situation. Or maybe use the blog to promote your upcoming book? There are a number of sites where you can start a blog for free.
Career Change – Have been thinking about changing your career but the schedule at the current employment made that impossible? Now could be the ideal time to start learning a new skill that is needed in your new career choice. Maybe you don’t know which career you want to transition into. The Internet offers a wealth of resources to help you choose a career and learn a new skill.
Thanks to the Internet, there are many options and opportunities you can explore. You may encounter other things you could do to improve your life. The feeling of improving your value as a person and future prospects can have enormous positive impact on your emotions.
Keep in mind that this crisis will come to pass. Keeping yourself busy in productive activities will help you come out of it stronger and better prepared to face the future which will be brighter. But keep your balance, be kind with yourself, mix things up, and keep negative thoughts out by keeping your mind busy in positive endeavors.