Admit it, you’re scared of coronavirus. Here’s how to help yourself conquer the anxiety

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Look around you, it’s in the news, all over social media and most likely in the air. Coronavirus or the ‘boomer remover’ as it is jokingly referred to keeps spreading across borders. The whole world is witnessing a drastic slow down of economic activities, social gatherings, panic buying, closure of airports, more cases of COVID-19 as well as escalating death reports. 

Whether or not you live in a country that is largely or mildly affected, you have read or heard about certain times in history where the world had to deal with such pandemics, you’ve seen apocalyptic movies and read many theories, without doubts the stats are terrifying.

No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to turn a deaf ear to all that’s happening. Nobody wants to catch the rona, I get it but being absent minded isn’t the best preventive measure and same goes for anxiety too. I’ll touch more on anxiety because the larger bulk of the world’s population is currently dealing with this, knowingly and unknowingly. 

Is anxiety a good response? All I can say is that it is normal because you’ve no control, I mean you’re worried about losing your life or loved ones or this sort of history happening in your lifetime. But anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be productive in some cases and make us more cautious in our day to day life.

According to Tina Montreal, an assistant professor in McGrill University’s department of educational and counselling psychology, “the more you normalise anxiety, the less you view it as a problem and the less it is going to be amplified’. This means a small amount of anxiety allows us to be prepared, alert to what has to be doe and to be motivated to do so. 

However, people who already suffer from anxiety and related disorders are especially likely to have a hard time during the coronavirus crisis. It is important to put certain checks in place to help you deal with the growing tensions. A very unnecessary thing to do now is to be on high alert all the time, it will only make you unstable, emotionally and physically. Instead, try some of these strategies and reduce your risks of getting the coronavirus. 

Some useful tips to employ:

  1. Always checking the news for virus updates isn’t an antidote for calming your fears. A miracle wouldn’t happen overnight and the only way you’ll survive this is by precautionary measures seriously not watching primetime news. I recommend limiting your exposure to coronavirus news to no more than 30 minutes per day.
  2. Stick to credible sources of medical information to avoid any misinformation.
  3. Connect with your loved ones via video chats, phone calls, texting, and email. This keeps you away from the noise and helps you feel the strength of your connections.
  4. I’m not trying to scare you but the world is going to end someday and we are all going to die. So learn to tolerate uncertainty because it makes everything easier. Working on your tolerance threshold will help you cut down time you spend researching for virus updates or panicking. 
  5. There are over 190,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases but did you also know know that more than half of the people receiving treatment have successfully recovered? You should also look out for more positive news surrounding the pandemic because there are. Share them with your contacts and you’ll definitely feel relieved or much better. Humans tend to exaggerate the danger of unfamiliar threats compared to ones they already know.
  6. Sometimes trying new things and discovering new activities you can benefit from and enjoy can be a welcome, healthy distraction. Binge-watching, Yoga, Meditation, Journaling, Reading a book are some of the activities you should try.
  7. Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, practice mindfulness, spend time in nature and employ relaxation techniques when stressed. Its a good time to work on a self-care routine. 
  8. If all of these still feels like gibberish to you, please feel free to get professional help. Cognitive behavioral therapy and certain medications can successfully treat anxiety problems.

We are all in this together, stay safe and positive!

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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