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Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety

March 30, 2020 | Renee Leber, LISW-S

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Panic. On-edge. Overwhelmed. Unsure. Surviving. Worried. Numb. Depressed. Frightened. Angry. Calm.

I have heard all of these words used to describe how some have felt during the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. There isn’t a “right way” or a “wrong way” to feel about what is going on.

This is a worldwide situation that is life-changing and will be discussed for years to come in history classes. The children that are being “homeschooled” today will one day tell their grandchildren what it was like living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Children—and most adults—look to each other to gauge reactions to stressful situations and moods can shift depending on those reactions. Which feeling words do you want them to use to describe these moments?

Everyone is stressed or anxious to different degrees during this unprecedented situation. Our routines are off, places are closed, finances are being effected, and a time frames for when things will be back to normal are unknown. Stress and anxiety are  to be expected.

Putting some familiarity back into chaos helps us gain a sense of control and shift our moods and reactions to ones that are more positive. Here are some things you can do to help feel like you have some normalcy and positivity in the midst of all this unknown:

  1. Keep up with a routine. Start by setting regular wake up times, getting dressed each day, keeping up on hygiene, eating balanced meals, scheduling time to do work/homework, and going to bed around the same time each night.
  2. Make lists. Creating a to-do list will give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose; you can even write down all of the things listed above and check them off as you go. The point is to get back into a routine and know what is to come next.
  3. Come up with things you can do at home to stay busy. If you live with others, think about what you can do together and make a creative “bucket list” or “honey do” list now that you have more time at home. These lists could be different games, activities, movies, scrapbooking, or crafts you have wanted to do together or it could be home projects inside or outside of the house that everyone has been putting off.
  4. Get outside when possible. Getting outside often can be very beneficial especially after a long cold winter like we just had. You can go outside for a walk or just to enjoy the sun while still practicing social distancing.
  5. Stay social in other ways. If you live alone, you can schedule date nights over the phone or better yet on one of the many social platforms that has video conferencing capabilities. Don’t forget to check in on your friends, extended family members, and neighbors.

Also try to remember that some positives can come from this. We have to be mindful to make the effort to point them out to ourselves and others when we notice them.