COVID-19 anxiety management

Mar 31 • COVID-19, Feature Story, Letters to the EditorNo Comments on COVID-19 anxiety management

Sir: It’s as though the life did not have its ups and downs, and we got hit with the coronavirus pandemic, all over the world. At least something can be said about it; it does not discriminate based on the colour of our skin, race, nationality, gender, languages, education and income levels.

Given the scope of the problem, it’s OK and normal to be concerned, fearful and anxious. There is nothing wrong with such feelings especially when there are valid reasons behind them. After all, continuous bombarding over the media, empty supermarket shelves, closure of schools, work places, news about borders closing, airline cancelations and declarations of emergencies are enough to make us anxious.

Financial worries, especially for the self-employed and those without employee benefits, may further complicate lives. These are good enough reasons to worry for one’s safety, security and survival.

The problem becomes more complex when we get overwhelmed, overly anxious or get into a state of panic. Such feelings contribute to our physical and mental health, and reduce our abilities to remain focused and problem solve.

One thing to realize is that COVID-19 is not the only pandemic humanity has faced, and it is not the last one either. Just like previous pandemics, this too will become history.

Scientists are working nonstop to address this pandemic. The political will is not only supporting the scientists, the politicians are following suggestions from the scientists.

While it’s OK to be concerned, fearful and anxious, it’s not OK to get overly anxious, overwhelmed and panic. We all can take certain actions to insulate our selves from such debilitating feelings.

First of all, acknowledge and accept such feelings. There is nothing wrong if we feel fearful and anxious. There is no need to take it personally. No one is alone in it.

We have a choice to stay anxious or bounce back and take charge of our lives.

In taking control of our lives, we need to equip ourselves with correct information through the reliable sources. Once we have the facts, then we can challenge and confront our feelings of being overwhelmed and bring them under control.

There is a need to limit our exposure to the information we maybe gathering. Not monitoring screen time and constantly reading news reports on COVID-19 all day is bound to overwhelm us. Establishing limits will help us in keeping things in proper perspective.

Think and act positive. If we are at home, it’s an opportunity to have a quality time with the family members. Perhaps, there is an unfinished project at home. This is a perfect downtime to complete the unfinished project. Or it’s time to repair, repaint or clean the house and get rid of unwanted items.

 

When spending time at home, be mindful of keeping ourselves structured with a proper schedule. Without any structure, the life becomes unfocussed and more boring.

In addition to maintaining a structure in life, eat healthy and refrain from junk food. Rest, relax and sleep well. Engage in physical and mental exercises. Chatham-Kent is blessed with walking trails. It’s time to take advantage them.

Stay connected with other family members, friends and colleagues electronically. This helps in dealing with a feeling of being disconnected and of loneliness.

Don’t forget the neighbours and those who may be vulnerable. We have a responsibility towards them too. We all are in it together.

It is unethical, counterproductive and runs against the principle of “love thy neighbour” to overbuy, hoard and deprive others of life’s essentials. To add insult to injury is to resell them at excessive prices.

The most significant technique in coping with the high level of anxiety is meditation. Practice mindfulness. Live in the present moment without making any judgment. Refrain from negativities and pessimisms.

To meditate, find a quite place. Disconnect with all the distractions. Sit quietly and focus on your breath. Breathe gently and slowly. When the mind gets distracted with a bunch of thoughts, bring back your mind to your breathing gently. Soft music may be added to this exercise. Be still for at least five minutes a day.

Finally, maintain a spiritual perspective. It is an essential element in the practice of self-care. Look at the bigger picture.

Naresh James

Chatham

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