The World Health Organisation have today confirmed that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic. Our last pandemic was over 100 years ago, so clearly this is a new phenomenon to most, and for many, extremely anxiety inducing.
As someone that tries not to check the news very often, due to the increase it can have on my own anxiety (I just can’t bear to hear the extreme levels of the world’s ‘messed-up-ness’. And to be honest I will cry over a gerbil dying!) Yet, even I have been finding myself compulsively checking for updates far more than usual. However, does this addictive hyper-focussing on the unfolding of events really help us at all?
Here are some tips that might help to keep your mental state in check..
Social Media shutdown
Follow only what empowers you. If anyone in your network is spreading panic or fake news – put them on silent, unfollow, block, do whatever you need to do to get it out of your line of sight. Stay only with the facts, and the facts alone. Find a news outlet that is giving you the most succinct, factual and clearest facts on the issues, and use that as your only frame of reference. Try to shut out all other sources from your socials. Also resist the urge to continually watch the news on TV, you can even leave the room if other friends or family members are insisting on watching it.
Helping others is a great way to take your mind off things. Look for solutions in your own community. Find out who might need help and work with others to do something practical. This can be a great way to resolve any feelings of helplessness you might be experiencing under the circumstances. You could also look to your online communities to gather others who also want to help. Discuss with them ‘what is possible?’, and look at solutions you all as the ‘collective mind’ can come up with, rather than concentrating on doom and gloom.
Facts empower you, stories won’t.
Again, stick with the facts. Anything that is ‘opinion’ may be conjecture. In your conversations with others try not to engage in ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. When using news sources, look towards the highly rational people who don’t have an agenda and don’t use hyperbole. Switch off whenever there is ‘talking for the sake of talking ‘ – it’s happening a lot! And remember anxiety is normal, especially when there are real facts to be concerned over, so try to keep your perspective only on what is real.
If you find yourself compulsively looking for more and more information, try distracting yourself. Play your favourite games, watch your favourite tv shows, take the opportunity to do that homework/or assignment or project you’ve been putting off or wanting to start.
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