One thing we can all agree on is that COVID-19 is creating panic all over the world. People are panic buying for self-quarantine, medical supplies are low, conferences are getting cancelled-you name it. There is a sense of uncertainty that is creating anxiety all over the world. While some anxiety is normal, our anxious minds can easily go into panic mode-which significantly affects our mental health. When we enter panic mode, not only do we suffer but we stress out our loved ones and engage in irrational behavior. So to manage our anxiety, there are a few tips we can be mindful of to navigate the uncertainty that’s surrounding COVID-19.
Limit Media Exposure-Remember my blog post on why I don’t listen to the news because it creates a sense of unpleasantness all around? This is a classic example of that. While we do need to stay informed about what is happening in the world, checking for updates throughout the day will only escalate our anxiety-and then it’s just a downward spiral from there. We end up checking all types of sources-not knowing what’s reliable and what isn’t. So stick to reliable sources to be informed about the safety measures that need to be taken and limit perpetually checking for updates. One great source is U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Reduce Individual Anxiety by Taking Care of Yourself-Following safety advice is only going to help you. It is so important that we follow our self-care routine to reduce our own anxiety and to just help us overall. Physically, taking care of our immunity with basic practices such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, drinking water, and practicing good hygiene is the best we can do to reduce our own individual risk and by doing so, we significantly reduce the risk of so many problems. Mentally, panic mode raises our cortisol levels, which further lowers our immunity-making it the quickest way to get sick. So meditative and mental health practices are essential to calm our overactive minds.
Remember the Negativity Bias-Whenever there is negativity around, whether it’s our personal lives or in the world, we psychologically tend to focus and dwell on that. Throughout history, our negativity bias has worked as a mechanism to keep us safe from unknown threats and thus produces unnecessary worry. Be grateful for it, but remember, before we enter our panic mode-keep in mind that there’s no need to dwell in it, but it’s simply our survival instinct kicking in. 🙂
So…moral of the story: Take a deep breath. Coronavirus is around for sure, but panicking isn’t the answer. Wash your hands, drink water, work out, eat healthy food, meditate-hopefully this passes over soon.