Article written by: Molly Ward
Everywhere you look you see information about COVID-19 or Coronavirus. New outbreaks, warnings, cancellations, and the lack of toilet paper in the grocery stores. With all of this news circulating rapidly, it can feel unavoidable not to be consumed, anxious or scared. Figuring out how to continue with your day-to-day life and manage your stress at the same time can feel impossible. Here’s what you need to know in order to not panic:
Limit News Intake
There is an overwhelming amount of news out there escalating our fears about the Coronavirus. Between news outlets and social media, hearing about the fear that’s spreading is inevitable. When we are constantly exposed to this fear and negative reports, it can alter our mental health and leave us feeling heavy and drained. Making a plan to only check the news once a day from one news source, limit social media, or limit the amount of time you spend reading/watching/listening to the news can be helpful ways to stay informed, but not be overwhelmed.
Follow CDC Guidelines
You’ve heard it everywhere. You don’t need to hear it from us. However, take the precautions listed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seriously. Being informed is a great way to decrease panic as uncertainty can lead to anxious or fearful thoughts. The information that you need to know is clearly listed out on their website and up to date. The biggest things to remember are to wash your hands, steer clear of touching your face and most importantly – stay home if you are sick!
Feeling anxious right now is absolutely normal. Anxious feelings keep you safe and let you know if there is a potential threat. These feelings will come and go over the next few weeks. Since they are inevitable, ignoring them or denying them might make things worse. Instead, use some tools to help manage these feelings so that they’re not disrupting your day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try and stimulate your senses by noticing 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. If you need more than that, try going for a run or walk, singing and dancing to your favorite song or getting your thoughts out on paper.
Here is another article on managing anxiety you might find helpful: From The Therapy Couch: Some Tips From People Who Struggle With Anxiety.
Stay Connected With Supports
It’s important to stay connected during what might be an isolating time. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your friends, family or whoever you lean on. In addition, you don’t have to cancel your therapy session. This might be a time where you need it the most.
Too much isolation can increase depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. Most therapy sessions can be done by video or over the phone. If your therapist hasn’t already reached out, contact them to find out what their policies are. If you are unable to continue therapy, make a plan with the help of your therapist to make sure that you are supported and connected during this difficult time. Know your signs of increased stress and reach out to others as you need.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when looking for a therapist: Considering Therapy? Here’s What You Should Look For When Choosing A Therapist For You.
There is no denying the gravity of this situation and it is only natural to have feelings of panic. Use these tips to help manage your feelings and continue with your life the best that you can. Remember that you’re not going through this alone and use your friends and family as support. They might even be able to spare you a roll of toilet paper.
If you are having increased thoughts of suicide or need additional emotional support reach out to your therapist directly or call the Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text “help” to *38255 for assistance over text messaging.
For CDC’s guidelines and updates on Coronavirus click here.
Molly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with teens, young adults, families, and couples providing support for substance use concerns, healthy body image, anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
She is trained in family systems and uses a collaborative approach to helping clients learn ways of managing life and relationship stress.
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We help people learn to build positive relationships through identifying and building boundaries with themselves and others.