Corona Scare: Stay Calm In The Face Of Fear
Following trusted sources of information and channelizing nervous energy into doing something creative will help
Each day, new information seems to be hitting us as the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world. Expectedly, it has brought in its wake a sea of misinformation, confusion and a sense of uncertainty.
As humans, most of us have an innate need to know and control things and, therefore, when we are faced with an unseen and unknown virus like this, it leaves us feeling helpless, hypervigilant and scared.
Here are some ways to manage your stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Strike a Balance
It is understandable that all of us are going to feel anxious and stressed while we try navigating these turbulent times. Know that it is okay to feel a little worried, but ensure it doesn’t overwhelm you. We need to strike that balance between being aware but not be overrun by fear.
Follow precautionary measures such as washing and sanitizing your hands, practising social distancing and self-quarantine, if unwell. Develop healthy habits like exercising, keeping yourself hydrated, sleeping and eating well.
It is reasonable to buy a few extra non-perishable items in case communities are quarantined, but beware of panic buying and hoarding. It’s all about striking a balance.
Channel Your Nervous Energy
Besides practising good habits, making a list of the times you’ve handled the unknown can help you fight panic. This, after all, isn’t the first global health scare we’ve managed to contain. We have dealt with unknown viruses before, whether it was SARS in 2003, or the Bird flu in 1997.
Next, we need to recalibrate ourselves to deal with this fast-changing situation. Yes, we have been told to avoid public places like shopping malls and cinema halls, but, can we not utilize this opportunity to introspect, spend time with family and reconnect with ourselves?
For some of us, this could be the time to take that online course on art. Channelling our nervous energies into doing something creative will have a calming effect on us.
Avoid Following the News Obsessively
There is a fine line between being informed by the news and following it obsessively and being overwhelmed by it.
As we know, social media can be a source of fake news too. Therefore, we must rely only on a few trusted sources of communication, like the World Health Organization (WHO). Beware of media amplification – don’t let the issue become bigger than it is, in your head. Also, do not spread fear by indiscriminately forwarding messages. Each one of us has a responsibility towards ourselves, our families and our community to handle this situation in a mature way.
So, take a deep breath and know that this too shall pass.
- The author is a psychotherapist and founder of counselling services platform, aFlourishing.me
(Inputs from Atreyu Samuel Balasundaram, Biology-Psychology PreMed Honors Student and Environmental Sciences Lab Member at Baylor University, Texas, US)