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8 ways to deal with coronavirus anxiety

PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 March 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is causing anxiety for many people. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/fizkes

The coronavirus pandemic is causing anxiety for many people. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/fizkes

Getty Images/iStockphoto/fizkes

The past seven days have seen huge changes to the way we live our lives, as the government responds to the Coronavirus pandemic. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, Norwich-based psychotherapist Shane Lutkin has some advice.

Try taking a break from the news to avoid become overwhelmed. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/fizkesTry taking a break from the news to avoid become overwhelmed. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/fizkes

“Sometimes being a human can be tough, confusing, stressing and even very nasty,” says Shane. 

“Covid-19, commonly known as coronavirus, is all over the world and the relevant authorities are doing as much as they can to deal with a very difficult situation. Many people are understandably apprehensive or worried. Most humans don’t like change and want to try and fix things. If a solution is not obvious, they might get overtly anxious. In some circumstances and situations there is very little we can do, but we do have a modicum of control over how we react to those circumstances and situations,” says Shane. 

He has the following advice for people experiencing anxiety:  

1. Try to avoid gossip and look up trustworthy sources on the outbreak 

“Having high quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control,” says Shane. “If you’re finding the rolling news updates overwhelming, take a break from it and just listen to major government updates.” You can stay informed and get latest advice about the virus at gov.uk and nhs.uk

2. Take a step back

“There is a balance between being acceptant, rationally informed and then taking appropriate actions or exaggerating things and exacerbating anxiety. Stop, consider and contemplate, ask yourself what the authentic reality of the situation is. Do not catastrophise and take things one day and one week at a time.” says Shane. 

3. Be wary of gossip – especially on social media 

“Rumour and guesswork can fuel anxiety and social media companies are trying to ensure that their platforms do not carry misleading information. Take a step back if you need to. 

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“However, it’s probably prudent to use social media for social support, especially if you are in self isolation or actually infectious,” says Shane. 

4. Keep in touch 

“At times of stress, we humans work better in company and with support,” says Shane. “Try and keep in touch with your friends and family digitally. Try not to sensationalise things or be dramatic when communicating, stay measured. Avoid spiralling into panic by trying to stay calm.”

5. It’s good to talk

“If you are ruminating, please don’t spiral into panicking but contact a therapist for Skype or Facetime session to talk things through and place your emotions appropriately,” says Shane 

6. Think positively 

“This virus is obviously not a good thing, but please do not catastrophise,” says Shane. “It is a probably a good idea to stick to your daily routine, where at all possible, and within government guidelines, with a ‘business as usual’ attitude. Try to exercise and eat healthily and if self-isolating try to keep busy catching up with all those things you’ve not had time to do around the house and garden or read or research or just chill out and try some guided mediation. Keep the whole issue in perspective, subject to how it is directly and genuinely affecting you and others.” 

7. Remember that we are all in this together 

Social distancing and self-isolating are currently causing big changes to the way we live our lives, but they are absolutely necessary. “We all need to take actions for the overall good, individually and collectively. Be responsible and help others as well as ‘you and yours’. Altruism gives humans a positive belonging feeling.” says Shane.

8. Sadness is inevitable

“Most of us will experience sadness because of Covid-19 related events. Support others and yourself empathically and please remember, while this episode is seriously tough it is exceptional, it is unique, and it will not last for ever,” says Shane.

Emotionalskills is offering sessions by Skype, Facetime or telephone. Email info@emotionalskills.uk

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