Constant news about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 stressing you out? Worried about your health and your finances? It is definitely hard not to be worried about everything go on around you in the world right now. But there are things you can do to minimize how much the Coronavirus affects your level of anxiety.
1. Focus on What You Can Control
This is a big one. What can you do in this situation to minimize your risks and the risks of your immediate family?
Look to the CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html Share these tips with your children. Explain about proper hand washing, not touching your face, and sneezing or coughing into your elbow.
Stay home if you feel like you are getting sick. If you have any symptoms, try to find one area of your home and stay there and keep others out of that space out of an abundance of caution.
The combination of soap and scrubbing is best to clean hands, but hand sanitizer is the next best option.
If you can’t find hand sanitizer in stores, here is how to make it yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPon4gy2v64. Be careful with the ingredients you use to make it yourself. Some recipes out there are causing burns, etc.
Do you have extra groceries, pantry and freezer items? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some extra food around in case you become stuck at home. Do you have college kids or school age children who are now going to class online? You will need extra food at home for them.
2. Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Another big one. Tune into to your trusted news sources once or twice a day. Do not sit in front of the television all day listening to the news about the Coronavirus and its effects all around the world. Watching bad news all day is one way to go into an anxiety tailspin. Find out what you need to know, then move on to as many regular activities as possible. Coronavirus cannot and should not be your only focus.
It doesn’t feel like this right now, but this too shall pass. Remember 911? The financial crisis of 2008? It seems as if everything in our world is changing or shutting down. This can be super scary, but it is temporary, and we will bounce back. We did then and we will now.
3. Make Lemonade
It stinks that the NCAA March Madness tournaments have been cancelled, right? And it stinks that so many different activities that we enjoy are not an option right now.
We can choose to focus on what we are missing out on. If we do, what do you think happens? We will become more and more down and blue, if not depressed, if we focus our attention on what is wrong and what we cannot do.
Instead, shift your focus onto what you now have the time to do. What can you do with your children that you rarely, if ever, have time to do? Where is that board game you used to love to play? What about a card tournament? Movie time? Take this opportunity, yes, I said opportunity, to do any of the things you enjoy, but don’t have time for in your normal busy schedule. What project around the house have you been meaning to get to? Nothing makes me feel better than cleaning out a closet and giving those clothes to someone who could really use them. How can you use this opportunity to help someone else? Check in on elderly family members who may be isolated because of their age or health conditions. FaceTime them. Talk about something other than Coronavirus.
Help your children keep a positive perspective. Don’t use words like pandemic and chaos with them. Share stories about events like this in the past that we have successfully moved on from. They need to feel safe and protected. One way to do this is to focus on as many normal activities as possible. Take part in activities that spark laughter. We can choose to create happy memories, even in times of difficulty. What do you want your children to remember about this time in their lives? What do you want them to remember about you?
Everything in life depends on how you look at it. How can you shift your mindset from fear to opportunity?