Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety
By: Christina Thomas, BCBSMS Director, Health & Wellness
When anxiety rises because we’re facing a distressing threat like the new coronavirus, we need to focus on what tends to work for us to ease the anxiety and come up with a daily plan to implement those actions.
Here are a few tips that you can implement to help ease anxiety:
- On a daily basis make a plan to connect with friends and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, texting and email. It really helps to feel the strength of your connections to your friends and loved ones, even though you may not be with them in person.
- Don’t overdose on media and information. It is good to remain aware, but set limits regarding the number of times you check in and stick with sources of credible medical information. For example, check in briefly in the morning and again at the end of the day but make a goal not to do so in between.
- Observe all of the practical steps as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control to lessen the risk of the coronavirus. These steps include the following:
- Avoid unnecessary travel outside the home and crowds larger than five people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep your hands away from your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Take steps to disinfect your home, cars and personal items that are frequently touched.
- Remember that it’s not necessary or helpful to be on high alert all the time. This will wear you down emotionally and physically. Try to adjust your level of alertness based on your immediate surroundings and practice safety when outside of your home.
- Try new things to help you relax. Yoga and meditation are great ways to relax and are suitable for all fitness levels. Sometimes trying new things and discovering new activities can be a welcome, healthy distraction. There are plenty of phone apps for yoga like Yoga Studio and Pocket Yoga. Some meditation apps to consider are Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.
- Controlled breathing is also a great way to feel calm and more centered. Try closing your eyes and breath in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Try this a few times and you will feel it has a positive, calming effect.
- Consider other ways to relax like reading a good book, watching a good comedy or listening to your favorite music.
Remember that you are not alone and that this is temporary. We are all on this journey together!