Managing Anxiety About Coronavirus
It feels impossible to turn on the news these days without hearing about the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. This is especially true in Florida since several confirmed cases have been reported in the state.
With so much alarming information in the news today related to the coronavirus, it is natural that you may be feeling alarmed, anxious or confused about the potential risks to your health. We would like to share some helpful information provided by the World Health Organization, as well as some ways you can manage your anxiety about COVID-19.
Rely on Good Sources for Information
The business model of most news organizations relies on people having strong emotional reactions, especially fear. After all, when people are afraid, they keep turning to their favorite news sources, which raises the ratings. The higher the ratings, the more they can charge advertisers.
Worst-case scenarios are often presented without contextual clues that fully inform the public. These worst-case scenarios are then shared across social media and the information becomes further distorted. (Similar to the telephone game played as a child where the information changes from person to person until it no longer represents the truth).
Public health organizations can provide updates that are accurate and contextual. We recommend getting your coronavirus updates from FLBH and the following organizations:
Both of these organizations also provide information on steps to take to prevent the spread of the virus.
Take Control By Taking Precautions
As with any anxiety trigger, it’s important to take control of what you can and release the need to control factors that you can’t. While you may not have the power to stop the virus in its tracks, you can take important precautions that can significantly decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19.
Washing your hands properly and often is one of the best precautions you can take to protect yourself. If you have small children, you can also take this opportunity to teach them about proper handwashing techniques.
Not only can you lessen the chance that you will contract COVID-19, but you can also play an important role in stopping the spread of the virus.
Public health officials are not yet sure if this virus can be spread by people who have no symptoms, so it’s important for everyone to follow these precautions.
Prepare, Don’t Panic
If you’ve been watching or reading any news about the coronavirus, you may have heard that people are rushing to stores in order to stock up on supplies in case of a larger outbreak. Making preparations for emergencies may help both your physical and mental health. However, people with anxiety disorders should be careful to avoid letting preparations heighten their panic. A few smart precautions include:
- Have essentials on hand that you can stay in your home for a few weeks if necessary. Essentials may include
- Water, if you need bottled water
- Pet food
- Supplies for babies, such as formula or diapers
- Extra refills of your daily medications
- Soap and hand sanitizer
- Antibacterial cleaners
- Cold and flu medicine
- Make a plan for if someone in your home gets sick
- What hospital can you go to?
- Can you quarantine someone in your home?
- Make a plan for work
- Can you work remotely?
- Can you make it by if your work shuts down for a while?
- Can you carry hand sanitizer at work, if you have to go?
- What’s your plan if schools shut down?
As you prepare for the worst, be sure to understand that the worst-case scenario is not necessarily the most likely scenario. People who live with anxiety disorders may conflate these two things, so it’s vital to keep them separated. Furthermore, you can
Reach Out for Help
As always, FLBH is here to help you. If the stress about coronavirus keeps you from living a healthy life, we recommend talking to one of our counselors. You do not need to come into the office and risk virus exposure to get help. Our Telehealth portal is here.