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Tips to cope with Self-Isolation and Coronavirus anxiety

Mar 1, 2020

Category: Chiropractor Northcote

Maintain a positive outlook during periods of self-isolation by:

  • reminding yourself that this period of self-isolation is temporary
  • thinking of the benefits of self-isolation to the wider society, including slowing the spread of the virus and protecting those most vulnerable in your community
  • remaining mindful that medical and scientific experts are following strict protocols to contain the virus and treat those affected
  • ensuring you have access to accurate, reliable and up-to date information that communicates what is expected from you if you are in isolation
  • maintaining relationships with family, friends and colleagues (e.g., via telephone or video technologies)
  • not overusing social media as you are likely to be exposed to negative news and get drawn into doomsday discussions – try to keep your mind busy with activities you enjoy such as reading, watching movies, exercising and even spring cleaning the house
  • structuring your day when working from home – allocate specific work hours, schedule breaks and set-up a dedicated workspace where distractions are limited.
Learn the facts

Constant media coverage about the coronavirus can keep us in a heightened state of anxiety. Try to limit related media exposure and instead seek out factual information from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s health alert or other trusted organisations such as the World Health Organization.

1. Keep things in perspective

When we are stressed, it is easy to see things as worse than they really are. Rather than imagining the worst-case scenario and worrying about it, ask yourself:

  • Am I getting ahead of myself, assuming something bad will happen when I really don’t know the outcome? Remind yourself that the actual number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia is extremely low.
  • Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Remember, illness due to coronavirus infection is usually mild and most people recover without needing specialised treatment.
  • Am I underestimating my ability to cope? Sometimes thinking about how you would cope, even if the worst were to happen, can help you put things into perspective. Take reasonable precautions

Being proactive by following basic hygiene principles can keep your anxiety at bay. The World Health Organization recommends a number of protective measures against the coronavirus, including to:

  • wash your hands frequently
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • stay at home if you begin to feel unwell until you fully recover
  • seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or experience breathing difficulties.
2. Practise self-care

To help encourage a positive frame of mind, it is important to look after yourself. Everybody practises self-care differently with some examples including:

  • maintaining good social connections and communicating openly with family and friends
  • making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy
  • keeping up a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting quality sleep and avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs to cope with stress
  • practising relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to give your body a chance to settle and readjust to a calm state.
3. Tips for talking with children about the coronavirus

Children will inevitably pick up on the concerns and anxiety of others, whether this be through listening and observing what is happening at home or at school. It is important that they can speak to you about their own concerns. Answer their questions Do not be afraid to talk about the coronavirus with children. Given the extensive media coverage and the increasing number of people wearing face masks in public, it is not surprising that some children are already aware of the virus. Providing opportunities to answer their questions in an honest and age-appropriate way can help reduce any anxiety they may be experiencing. You can do this by:

  • speaking to them about coronavirus in a calm manner
  • asking them what they already know about the virus so you can clarify any misunderstandings they may have
  • letting them know that it is normal to experience some anxiety when new and stressful situations arise
  • giving them a sense of control by explaining what they can do to stay safe (e.g., wash their hands regularly, stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing)
  • not overwhelming them with unnecessary information (e.g., death rates) as this can increase their anxiety
  • reassure them that coronavirus is less common and severe in children compared to adults
  • allowing regular contact (e.g., by phone) with people they may worry about, such as grandparents, to reassure them that they are okay.