Since our mobility has been restricted because of coronavirus, we began to feel a lot of mixed emotions. Time may seem to have stood still and we feel more and more a bit depressed each time. It is normal to feel anxious when seeing new headlines and waves of panic. These are unprecedented times and we need to work extra hard to manage our emotions well. The current global pandemic is certainly an unusual event and feeling anxious is to be expected. However, it is important not to let normal anxiety increase or persist to the point that it is causing other physical or mental health concerns.
A recent article by The University of Health Services, Berkeley, has stated FAQs about Covid-19 and how it influences our emotional well-being.
What contributes to our heightened anxiety or even panic during situations like this are mostly information overload, uncertainty and people. Fact-based, verified information is useful. However, panic often develops because of getting too much low-quality or conflicting information. As well as too much exposure to information of any kind.
Human beings are social creatures, so we look to each other for cues about how to act. So when we perceive that large numbers of people are acting a certain way due to perceived threats, the behavior can spread like a social toxicity.
The best way to deal with fear is to acknowledge that it is a lot what we are coping and it is normal that we feel afraid. We need more patience and compassion for ourselves, and others. This is not easy and all of us are doing this for the first time.
One of the best ways to minimize the flight or flight impulse is to take charge of your thinking. Fear and anxiety that are triggered by uncertainty during turbulent times can lead to persistent negative thinking, inaccurate predictions, and catastrophizing. It is helpful to reframe negative predictions into more realistic, manageable alternatives. Try to challenge thoughts that may be contributing to irrational or unwarranted fear.
What are key points to keep in mind during a crisis to maintain your emotional health?
• Stay connected to your social support. While we hear about the importance of “social distancing” as a good public health practice, maintaining “social connection” is a critical emotional health practice. We may not be able to physically meet with others in the same way right now, but we need to be connected. We are social creatures and feeling isolated or lonely is never helpful to our emotional health.
• Take care of your physical health
• Deep breaths every hour
• Engage in daily exercise
• Limit use of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and sugar
• Disengage from unproductive and anxiety producing conversations.
Our anxiety helps us cope. Though we are, for the time being, physically disconnected, this is the best time we can disengage from all our daily stress-inducing events. We must make efforts when we can be calm and take the chance we’re given to do all the tasks we missed to do at home from our busy schedules before. Seize the opportunities now that we can make up with our tired bodies and heavy minds. Work well enough from home, eat well, sleep well, stay physically safe and healthy, practice self-care anytime possible.
We can always find moments of hope and resilience all around us despite the uncertainty. Remember the things you can only do and cannot. This is a tough time, but we are all sharing the same experience. Create positivity and share light and balance whenever you can.