Managing anxiety during the COVID-19 or any infection pandemic

With the news constantly broadcasting about the staggering number of people infected with the virus worldwide and the ever rising death tolls, it is normal that many people feel overwhelmed by the threats of the COVID-19 virus. Not only does it lead to people to worrying about their own or their family’s health, but some may also feel anxious about their job security or financial situation as many companies will be affected by this pandemic. As such, this crisis can take a toll on your mental well-being.

Many countries in the world have imposed either a restricted movement order (RMO) or a complete lockdown to ensure their citizens stay at home to prevent the spread of the infection. However, this stay-at-home order has placed many members of the family staying together for long periods of time under one roof which can potentially lead to intolerance, resentment or even arguments within the household.

Click on Kati Morton’s video to Learn how to Deal with Coronavirus Anxiety

What can you do to manage your mental well-being while staying at home?

1. Engage with family and close friends who bring comfort to us

In times like this, social support is crucial in helping you manage your anxiety. Although we are strictly recommended by the government to practise social distancing, we can use other means to stay connected with people we care through video-calling or messaging. Get creative! You can schedule a video call session to work out together, watch videos together (shared screen) or even interact together online (such as drawing games, multiplayer online boardgames or karaoke). 

2. Take action and do some productive tasks

Take this opportunity to clean or redecorate your house. Start the project which you have always wanted to do.  You may not feel very productive at this time as you may be going through feelings of grief and worry.  Take one-step at a time and most importantly, spend some time on self-care activities! too

3. Limit media exposure to COVID-19 news

The news media is filled with daily updates on the effects of COVID-19. Most of the news are depressing and sensationalised. What’s even worse is the large amounts of fake news circulating through social media causing even more confusion and panic. As such you should limit your media exposure by setting a time to view ONLY what is important and necessary and from trusted sources such as www.moh.gov.my, www.digitalhealthmalaysia.org, www.who.int and www.cdc.gov

4. Refrain from getting angry or losing your cool

During times of stress or crisis, you may be prone to be impulsive and more likely to say poorly thought-out statements.  Do try to refrain from getting into unnecessary arguments with your family members.  Instead, have a healthy conversation to tackle any difficult issues as a family unit.  This is the time to support each other because unity is strength during a crisis like this.

5. Make time each day to relax

Make time each day to let your body come and calm down.  Practise relaxation techniques & tackle worrying thoughts by engaging relaxation techniques such as Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing or Progressive Muscle Relaxation to reduce your feelings of anxiety or stress.   You can also write down your thoughts in a note book or thought journal.  Do review your thought journal by yourself or with a counsellor who can help you understand your mental state better.  

6. Do what is within your control to keep yourself and your family healthy 

Practise good personal hygiene (washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand rub).  If you need to go out to get groceries, remember to shower and clean  yourself when you return home so that you have peace of mind that you have reduced the risk of infection within your family.

7. Stick to your regular routine

Remember to stay active and continue with your daily exercise as it helps to reduce your stress and anxiety by producing endorphins (happy hormones).  You can follow yoga or fitness exercises online to work up a sweat.  Even though you may be working from home (WFH), it is important to stick to the routine and make an attempt to change out of your pyjamas. Take your meals or coffee breaks at the same time as you would at the office.  Connect with your colleagues to keep up to date with the company work progress.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed during this period, do chat online with a counsellor or therapist. There are also hotlines that are still in operation such as Befrienders (0379568145) or Talian Kasih (15999).

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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