With the rapidly evolving news of the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure. For all of us who struggle with our mental health, the rapidly changing environment can magnify any challenges that we’ve been dealing with. It’s important to do what we can to tend to our emotional wellbeing as we navigate the next few weeks. If you’re finding that your anxiety or depression is feeling harder to manage, here are a few ways you can get through:
“Headline Stress Disorder,” a term coined for the anxiety resulting from the 24 hour news cycle, can be ramped up when always-emerging information about the outbreak is readily available. If around-the-clock coverage of the Coronavirus is causing you distress, try disabling news push notifications on your phone and set aside one block of time a day to follow the coverage, rather than continuously checking in. When you do read Coronavirus-related news, make sure you choose trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), or local health authorities.
Guidelines for personal care include avoiding touching your face, washing your hands often for 20 seconds, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoiding contact with those who are unwell, and staying home if you’re feeling sick (except to get medical care). For more health guidelines, choose trusted organizations such as the CDC or WHO.
Our self-care practices often go neglected in periods of high stress, but staying on top of getting adequate sleep, nutritious food, and vitamins can help keep stress levels down and your immune system strong. If gyms and other exercise locations are closed in your area, try one of the many fitness classes that can be streamed online.
Be sure to stay in touch with your friends and family to let them know how you’re feeling, or ask them to check in on you if you know that you tend to isolate when stressed. If constant discussion of Coronavirus stresses you out, it’s okay to ask for some COVID-19-free time. If you feel that your anxiety or depression is interfering with daily functioning, seek out help from a medical professional. Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, and that help is available when you want it.
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Always consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.