Feelings of stress and anxiety stemming from the coronavirus outbreak are understandably on the rise. Even if you have no symptoms, there’s no escaping thoughts of the virus when it’s the topic of every conversation and the focus of every news story.
The Mental Toll of a Crisis
It’s normal to feel a lot of negative emotions during a crisis. Exposure to a constant stream of negative information takes a huge psychological toll on us. While we’ve done a lot to prevent the spread of the virus through social distancing, it’s also important to care for your mental health before the negativity spreads too far.
Here are some simple ways you can maintain a positive outlook and practise mental distancing in the face of current uncertainty.
Avoid too much media – Avoid social media posts and news stories that are extremely negative that lead to dooms-day feelings. Keep informed of the situation, but don’t be overwhelmed with it. When you seek information, stick to reliable news sources such as the Australian Government or World Health Organisation.
Eat well and keep active – Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping healthy will not only strengthen your immune system, it will help you feel better emotionally too. While we’re on the topic, try these immunity boosting foods.
Keep a regular schedule – Even though things may seem disrupted right now, keep a routine as much as possible. If you’re working from home, get up at your normal time, get dressed, and sit at a defined workspace. Ensure you stick to your normal workout schedule by keeping active at home, and eat regular, healthy meals to avoid comforting eating.
Stay busy – Ensure you’re enjoying a range of fun activities even when social distancing. Craft and music are not cancelled! Playing in the backyard and gardening are not cancelled. Read, write, listen to a podcast, do an online course, or learn a language to utilise your downtime. Be productive and spring clean the house or finish odd jobs you’ve been putting off.
Seek help – People predisposed to depression and anxiety are particularly likely to be having a hard time right now. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a psychologist if you need help managing your thoughts or aren’t coping with isolation. Many offer video or phone consults these days!
Check in on family – Be aware of the mental health effects on children and your family unit. Time off work and school, cancelled activities, and stricter hygiene can leave children feeling anxious. Honesty is vital in high stress situations, so make time for discussions with children and answer their questions. But make time for safe play and relaxation too!
Do something nice – Helping someone else will have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Investigate safe volunteer work in your local community, or call your elderly neighbours to ask if you can help them in any way. Even a quick chat on the phone may brighten someone’s day if they’re feeling isolated.
Remain calm – we’ll get through this
Remember that this unprecedented event won’t last forever, and life will eventually return to normal. In the short term, following hygiene guidelines and recommendations will help you feel more in control of your own health.
The Australian Psychological Society President, Ros Knight states, “As humans, we are hardwired to be afraid of the unknown and of something that appears random and uncontrollable. If you find yourself becoming anxious about coronavirus, try to remember that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected.”
The best way to respond? Try not to become too overwhelmed, reassure loved ones, and don’t panic!
How LifeShape Clinic Can Help
LifeShape Programs address all aspects of your life so you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. To do this, we work closely with each client to discuss their feelings, emotions, and their behaviours to determine how they are affecting their health and weight loss efforts.
Unfortunately, feelings of distress can undermine your ability to be constructive during a crisis. So if you find yourself turning to comfort foods, or unhealthy behaviours to cope, give us a call – we can help! Maintaining a positive outlook is vital to maintaining a healthy mental state through this crisis. Our expert clinicians will teach you the tools to cope with your emotions during times of stress.