How to cope up with coronavirus anxiety and stress?
Anxiety is so idiosyncratic that it’s difficult to pinpoint a “type” that’s most common. For some, it might feel like vines of dread roping themselves around you the night before a big work deadline, or maybe like a creeping cloud of unease that settles in during your morning commute. Maybe you cope by taking prescribed medication or going for a run; maybe you’ve gotten suspiciously into baking bread.
No matter what your specific brand of anxiety looks like, it’s probably safe to say that the novel coronavirus pandemic isn’t helping it. At the urging of public health officials, large public gatherings have been canceled, obsessive hand-washing is all but mandatory, and much of the world is in an uneasy state of lockdown. There is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of physical isolation, and being alone with your thoughts may be more distressing than ever.
Strategies to cope with stress, anxiety or distress
Learn how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19: The Australian Department of Health has recommended important action we can all take to protect against infection and prevent the virus from spreading including practising good hygiene, self-isolation, and social (physical) distancing.
Acknowledge your feelings: Whatever you are feeling right now, know that it’s okay to feel that way. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be through journalling, talking with others, or channelling your emotions into something creative (e.g., drawing, painting, poetry, music). Mindfullness meditation exercises can help us stay grounded in the midst of an emotional storm. You can learn how to witness and let thoughts and feelings come and go in their own time, without getting overwhelmed by them.
Maintain your day-to-day activities and a routine as much as possible: Having a healthy routine can have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Go back to basics: eating healthy meals, physical exercise (e.g., walking, stretching, running, cycling), getting enough sleep, and doing things you enjoy. Even if you’re in self-quarantine, or working from home, there are many ways to develop new routines and stay healthy.
- Keep learning and maintaining your study
- Read a book
- Listen to a podcast
- Try out a new hobby or skill (e.g., cook a new recipe, play an instrument, learn a language, learn how to sew, gardening).
Stay connected: Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.
Remember that physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection: There are many ways we can use technology to stay connected, and both give and receive support (remotely):
- Call, text, or video-chat with friends and family
- Share quick and easy recipes
- Start a virtual book or movie club
- Schedule a workout together over video chat
- Join an online group or peer forum.