I’ve always been a “worrier.” I’m not a pessimist, but when I’m worried about something, I lean toward catastrophic thinking.
As the coronavirus crisis spirals out of control, it’s easy to imagine the worst is happening – or yet to come. But there are healthy ways to deal with anxiety in these unprecedented times.
An article from The Guardian provides mental health tips for coping with the coronavirus worries. Among them are physical activity, physical distancing (versus social distancing) and limiting daily news consumption.
- Acknowledge your anxiety
People deal with anxiety in ways that range from harmless to harmful – from binge-watching TV to comfort eating and alcohol. But the commonality is that these are ways of avoiding dealing with it, says psychiatrist Dr Richa Bhatia.
First, she recommends acknowledging that anxiety, which is a normal evolutionary reaction to a perceived danger or threat. And Bhatia suggests trying to reframe anxiety as “a set of feelings, thoughts and emotions” rather than something defining to you or your life. “Feelings come and go and they will pass, and that’s what we have to remind ourselves when we are feeling anxious.”
- Reframe the situation
You are not “stuck inside”. No, you are indulging in a long-awaited opportunity to slow down, focus on yourself and your home, writes psychologist Dr Aarti Gupta at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
“Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude,” she writes. “Set your sights on long-avoided tasks, reorganize, or create something you’ve always wanted to.”
- Set quarantine rituals
With all the additional time spent not commuting or getting to places, Gupta suggests using it to do something special with new rituals. This could entail a walk first thing in the morning, starting a journal, or speaking to a family member every morning on FaceTime. “Having something special during this time will help you look forward to each new day,” she writes.
The Indiana Chamber has a statewide employer coronavirus resources page – www.indianachamber.com/coronavirus – which provides information under three umbrellas: Health, Tools You Can Use and Government and Community Assistance.