Early this week I got outside for a short walk at Volunteer Park in Seattle. I was early enough that a thick fog had not yet lifted and I spotted this mallard pair resting in the dewey grass. You could barely see the massive big trees in the park. Even though it was chilly and foggy, it certainly lifted my spirits!
Feelings of fear and anxiety are normal during a pandemic. Being proactive about your mental health can help to keep both your mind and body stronger. Some ways to take care of yourself include:
- Reading the news from reliable sources (and take breaks from the news)
- Recognizing the things you can control, like having good hygiene
- Practicing self-care and seeking professional help if necessary
Ways to Manage Stress
The way you cope with stress can ensure that you’re taking helpful action in managing your mental health. Here are ways to help you ease anxiety surrounding coronavirus.
Read news from trustworthy sources.
Avoid the herd mentality.
Be aware that many people take action that doesn’t help.
Seek professional help.
If your mental health is being impacted by the stress of the coronavirus, then you may want to seek professional help. In addition to mental health concerns that may arise as a result of anxiety surrounding a pandemic, it’s important to monitor existing mental health conditions to ensure they don’t worsen.
Depression and Anxiety
Children often adopt the coping strategies they observe in their parents. Parents who grow anxious during a pandemic may end up witnessing their children develop anxiety right along with them.
Rumination or Isolation
Personal reactions to increased fears may differ. But many individuals experience increased rumination about the possibility of getting sick. They may also greatly modify their behavior when doing so isn’t warranted (e.g., isolating themselves or preparing for catastrophic outcomes).
How Do I React?
Being bombarded with news that constantly talks about death tolls, and reports that emphasize how many are sick, can cause people to overestimate the risks they face in contracting the illness. However, reliable sources of media can also have positive effects during a pandemic.
The media can fuel anxiety by continuously reporting on the “spread” of an illness like the coronavirus. However, when used appropriately, the media can also be an ally in disseminating useful information.
Positive vs. Negative Use of Media
Researchers analysis on the use of media following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, discovered that news reports can reduce panic in the public by recommending concrete, detailed actions for people to take. This approach may prevent individuals from overreacting or taking drastic measures when a new threat emerges.