We are all justifiably stressed about COVID-19. Our concerns about our health and the health of our loved ones are compounded by other worries – getting groceries, losing jobs, running out of money. Often, when we are watching this unfold on television, the panic is about these related calamities. We are shown aisles of empty shelves at the grocery store and schools, restaurants and businesses closing. The closing of Disney Land which has only previously closed for presidential assassinations, earthquakes and 9/11 really makes the situation feel catastrophic.
You are not alone – the anxiety is global. Anxiety is paralyzing. You know what to do to protect yourself – hand washing, social distancing. Let’s also think about how to protect our psyches and those of our children, elderly parents, and those most vulnerable who already suffer from crippling anxiety.
Be very cautious about where you get your coronavirus information. We get information from network news, social media, and politicians Network news has sponsors and is competing with other network news program for viewers. Scary stories sell. Politicians – that speaks for itself. Social media is the opinions of millions of people. We can all cope better, make better decisions, and stay emotionally grounded if we limit our exposure to the 24 hour news cycle. Try choosing a source that you trust and get an update once a day. I recommend The World Health Organization (WHO). Avoid any source that trumpets “Breaking News!”
Meanwhile, get enough sleep, exercise, and reduce stress by going outdoors, meditating, yoga, – whatever works for you. Socialize within reason. Staying in touch with friends and family can help cope with the stress.
Some of us are old enough to remember polio. Our parents were terrified. With good reason. Connect with others and let’s pull together to weather the COVID-19 storm.