The impact of COVID-19 on all our lives is leaving us feeling all kinds of ways, from anxious and stressed to frightened and frustrated. Just know that it’s OK to not be OK…
Many of us are feeling worried and scared about catching coronavirus. We see the effects of the virus all around us every single day. It’s almost completely impossible to avoid hearing and thinking about the virus as it has affected so many areas of our day-to-day life. So, what can we do to minimise our fear levels and decrease our anxiety?
Well, one thing we can do is to remember two simple facts:
- We can do lots of things to protect ourselves against COVID-19. Simply washing our hands regularly, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing rules are our three key tools to reducing our risk. When you know that you have these tools in your locker, you can feel confident and hopefully more reassured that you are doing everything you can to stop the spread and protect yourself and others. Taking ownership of our actions helps to put anxiety at ease and reduces our feelings of helplessness.
- If we do happen to contract the virus, we are not alone. There are lots of people out there who can help us and look after us. It’s important to remember that most of the people who contract coronavirus will have a mild case. These symptoms can be treated at home with the love and support of our families. Friends and families across the world are helping one another with shopping and medicines.
In situations where the cases are more serious, (and remind yourself again that this is unlikely to apply to you) remember that there are trained professionals – our amazing nurse and doctors – who will give us the very best of care. By reminding yourself of the various ways in which people can help you if you were to contract the virus you are calming and soothing the panicky ‘but what if?’ voice inside and refusing to let your imagination get carried away with worrying possible scenarios.
It’s also important to separate fact from fear. There are many rumours and conspiracy theories circulating, especially on social media, and these can leave us feeling even more frightened and anxious than before. Take steps to reduce your online time and avoid reading posts with wild claims as they will only stoke your fears and increase anxiety.
If your friends tend to share this type of post, try muting them for a spell, or even come off social media completely. You can also ask them not to send you anything in relation to COVID-19 and explain that you find it unsettling to read. It’s completely OK to shield yourself to protect your own mental health, and a good friend will understand that.
Lastly, it’s important to keep some kind of normality in your life. This can be difficult, especially during lockdown when we are being asked to stay at home and can’t meet up with friends, but there are ways we can keep ourselves busy and entertained at home. Try to keep your mind active to distract yourself from worrying about COVID-19 and its effects on your life. Read a book, call a friend for a chat, or get out for a walk to take your mind off your worries.
If you feel like your anxiety is getting the better of you, there are lots of ways to get help. Try one of these anxiety apps or reach out to talk to someone. You could chat to a friend, a family member, or speak to a trained professional in confidence at Childline on 0800 11 11.
There are also lots of really helpful online tips on dealing with the pandemic, lockdown and mental health at Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7ayewKeW7gIVFJ7VCh3aug0JEAAYASAAEgKPvPD_BwE