I’m Scared: 5 Tips To Help You Cope With The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything United States citizens, or people around the world, have witnessed in their lifetime. With major concerns like the potential for infection, the loss of jobs and income, and the lack of financial or physical resources, it is perfectly natural for everyone to be feeling a little more than overwhelmed right now. However, some of us may not be dealing with stress or anxiety as well as we would like to. There are plenty of people out there thinking to themselves, “I’m scared”.
If you feel like you are overwhelmed with this crisis, the good news is that there are things that you can do to manage some of these feelings as you navigate this crisis. To help you work through your feelings as we go through this experience, here are 5 tips to help you cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 Tips to Help You Cope With the COVID-19 Pandemic
The biggest thing to remember is that COVID-19 pandemic is something that we cannot control. However, we are in control of the way that we react and what we choose to do. If you have said to yourself, “I’m scared”, the good news is that there are ways to work through this feeling of fear. This truth can give us a bit more security when it comes to figuring out what we can do in response to this pandemic. To guide you through this process and to ensure that you feel like you are handling this pandemic to the best of your ability, take a look at the 5 tips provided below.
Do Your Research and Stay Informed
The COVID-19 virus is very real. However, some of the information that may be making its rounds on social media can be inaccurate or fake. This misinformation can cause a great amount of anxiety. Rather than taking information at face value, make sure that you are looking into any statements made online regarding the virus. You can do this by visiting reliable news sources or authoritative websites, such as the CDC, for example. You should also seek out advice supported by medical experts. This will help you avoid worrying about any developments that are not factual. Instead, you only know what is truly going on in the world regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
Practice All Recommended Safety Measures to Avoid Contracting COVID-19
For those who must continue to work or for those who venture out of their house for essentials, the fear of contracting the virus can be overwhelming. While you can’t guarantee that you won’t get the virus, you can take preventative measures to greatly reduce the chances that you will. Some of the best steps to take include:
- Sheltering in place for as long as you possibly can. If you can get certain products online, this is best for the time being. If you must go out, practice all safety measures to avoid catching the virus from someone else.
- Stay at least six feet away from others when you do have to go out and make sure to physically isolate and distance from others while the virus is still a concern. You should still maintain your social connections (social distancing does not mean social isolation) but from afar. This will further prevent you from catching or spreading the disease.
- Whenever you touch a foreign object, come into contact with someone, or touch an item that someone else has handled (a package, for example) wash your hands. Using soap and water will suffice. Just make sure that you are washing your hands for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Wear a mask whenever you enter an area where other people are present. Additionally, you should avoid coughing or sneezing towards others. Make sure to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough to stop the spread of germs. You will also want to wear gloves if you anticipate coming into contact with anything while you are out of your house. These tips can provide you with some extra protection if you do leave your house.
- If any foreign objects come into contact with any surfaces in your home, make sure to clean and disinfect those surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This precaution should also be taken with food items that others may have touched.
It is perfectly natural to worry about getting sick. Adhering to the recommended guidelines above may serve to relieve some of that anxiety. While you may not be able to entirely prevent yourself from getting sick, this puts you more in control and can make you feel better when you must go out to do something.
Figure Out How You Are Most Impacted (and Plan Accordingly)
For some, the concern may be due to the effects of the virus. Many individuals have been laid off of work or have had to close their business. Without financial support, doing basic things like paying for groceries, supporting themselves and others, or affording rent and utilities is either financially stressful or impossible. If you have lost your only source of income, this can be a major source of mental stress.
One of the best things you can do right now is to figure out what your next move may be. Fortunately, there are resources out there designed to help you cope with these difficult times. These resources may include government benefits, stimulus checks, and other funds that are currently designed to help those most impacted by the virus. For those without income, this is an essential step to take to bring money in.
Another great thing to look for are current developments that may impact access to food, shelter, or any changes in laws or regulations that can help you find some relief from your current financial situation. You may also be able to find local resources that will grant you relief while you are looking for ways to pay your bills.
Beyond resources, you may want to ask yourself, is there any other way I can bring income in right now? Do I have any skills that may allow me to find employment in an industry that hasn’t experienced severe shutdowns? Covering all your bases will help you feel more secure in a very uncertain time.
Look for Ways to Reduce Your Overall Stress and Anxiety
Sometimes, we may think, “I’m scared”, but have more control over the situation than we know. For the things that we can’t plan for, however, we have to learn how to cope with them. The biggest problem with this pandemic is that it can lead to severe stress, anxiety, and even depression if you are leading a more isolated lifestyle. Recognizing these developing issues and learning how to better cope with them can make it a bit easier to deal with the pandemic. Here are some ways that you can reduce your overall stress and anxiety:
- Although we should practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, we shouldn’t isolate ourselves. Staying without any human contact can lead us to feel depressed and alone. Instead, make a point to reach out to friends and family over the phone or through video. While we may not be able to physically see each other, we can still stay connected!
- When it comes to your health: food, fitness, and other self-care habits are extremely important during this outbreak. Staying on top of your diet and doing in-home workouts are great ways to continue your healthy lifestyle while you are waiting out COVID-19. Just because you can’t go to the gym or go out as much doesn’t mean that you have to ditch your health routine.
- Staying informed is important. That said, being over-informed and obsessed can also be a source of stress. Make sure to take breaks from the news and focus on other things such as hobbies or work (if you are working remotely). Know the essential news but don’t overburden yourself with all of the developing stories out there.
- Look for relaxation exercises that you can practice when you’re feeling especially stressed. Whether that is meditation, yoga, or something light like reading, there is something for everyone.
- Use some of your time to engage in activities you may not otherwise have time to do. All of us have things that we plan to do but are too busy for when we try to squeeze it into our day. Make a list of all of these things and put them on your to-do list. Although some of them may be things around the house, make it a point to focus on things you enjoy as well.
- Some people are turning to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the pandemic and social isolation. Unless you are enjoying a drink here or there, turning to these substances can result in serious addictions and disorders. Make sure to use healthy coping mechanisms like the ones listed above to deal with stress and anxiety.
Consider Speaking to a Therapist
BetterHelp is an online therapy resource dedicated to helping you connect with a certified counselor from the comfort of your home. While social distancing recommendations are in place, it can be far safer to get help from home than in-person.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some serious consequences for people everywhere. No matter what your situation may be, fear and anxiety are completely natural reactions to what is going on in the world around us. That said, there are things that you can do to alleviate some of these feelings. If you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, use the 5 tips above to help you cope with the emotions you may be feeling as you navigate this crisis.
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