These are weird and scary times. We’re in a global pandemic. The coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading around us like wildfire. And if you’re like me, you’ve been monitoring it closely. Checking the news several times a day, keeping track of the numbers… It’s been freaking me out to be completely honest. So, I’ve been actively trying to stay calm (which is not usually my strong suit) and in this blog post I’m going to share my self-care tips with you. I’d like to be very clear about the fact that I’m not an expert, I just want to share the things I do to make myself feel better in this situation in hopes that it might help someone else.
“JE SUIS CALME!”
First of all, let me start by saying I’m not necessarily scared for myself. I am worried about the people who are more vulnerable to the effects of this virus than I am. From what I can gather, there is still a lot we don’t know (for sure) about this virus and it’s already affecting more than just our health. It’s affecting our incomes and our sense of security.
I’ve seen a lot of people saying their anxiety has been through the roof lately, not knowing how to deal with this situation. And that makes total sense because most of us have never been in a situation like this before. I’m not claiming we don’t need to worry about COVID-19, but panicking is no use to anyone. Especially not to ourselves…
So, what can we do about it?
Here are my tips to calm your nerves about the coronavirus:
Stop checking the news every ten minutes
I’ve been following the news about the virus since the beginning, but as it’s been coming closer and there were more and more positive cases in nearby countries, I kept checking the news several times a day. When I realized this was doing more harm than good to my mental health, I decided to limit myself to checking the news once a day to keep up with the most important developments, without it keeping me busy all day.
Get your updates from reliable sources
There is A LOT of false information going around about COVID-19. People are making things up and spread lies on social media. This helps nobody. Don’t click on those clickbait links. Don’t buy everything you see on Facebook. Posts with vague descriptions like ‘an Italian health care expert’ as a source without an actual name or a link to a trustworthy article are just simply not true. Ignore them and don’t let the info mess with your head.
Mute related words on social media or stay off it altogether
You can’t log onto social media without being confronted with posts about the coronavirus right now. If it’s making you anxious, you can mute words like “coronavirus”, “virus”, “covid19” and other keywords that people might be using in their tweets and posts. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t see any posts, but at least there will be significantly less in your timeline. If it’s really getting to you, consider staying off social media altogether for a while.
Distract yourself by keeping yourself busy
Take your mind off things by keeping busy. Focus on your work. Write a story. Read a good book. Go color or draw something. Make a puzzle. Binge-watch your favorite series or hold a movie marathon. Cuddle with your pets. Call a friend or family member. Whatever will help you distract yourself and stop you from overthinking.
Focus on the positive
Yes, it’s an awful situation… However, it’s also bringing out the best in a lot of people. Rarely have I seen people come together like this and step up to help each other out. I’ve seen people offer to shop for groceries for people who can’t leave their homes, people who sing together from their balconies and pastries and flowers delivered to the health care workers that are battling this at the front line. I hope that as this goes on, that’s what we’ll be seeing more of: people taking care of each other. Because that’s how we’re going to tackle this thing: together.
Talk to someone
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to express yourself and ask for help. Sometimes, just talking about how you feel with a friend, family member or therapist can help you cope with the tension.
Stick to the guidelines
As little as we might feel we can control this situation, the one thing we can control is following the guidelines set by our governments and health care experts. If you’re experiencing symptoms even a little bit, stay inside. Work from home if you can and limit your social interactions as much as possible. For the Dutch guidelines, click here.
It’s important to take care of ourselves and our mental health in this situation (actually, make that always). I hope you’ll be able to find a healthy way to deal with this and that you’ll soon feel less anxious. Remember you are not alone in this and don’t stress about what others might think. Take the action you need to feel better. We’re going to get through this. Stay safe everyone.
With much love,