How to manage anxiety around coronavirus
2020 has seen humankind face a new set of challenges, with the cessation of international and some domestic travel, the shift to remote-working, socialising restrictions and self-isolation. All of this change can be stressful and can impact our mental wellbeing. With a mention of covid-19 in almost every headline, zoom call and social media post it’s normal to feel a variety of emotions through this challenging period.
According to Beyond Blue, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime1. If you’re feeling overwhelmed know that you aren’t alone. Linda Jays, Life First psychologist explains what exactly health-related anxiety is and offers tips on navigating this difficult time. Coronavirus has not only impacted Australians' physical health but also the economy, jobs and everyday routines which in turn has an impact on mental wellbeing.
It is normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions and like everything, how each individual responds to stressful situations is very different and as such there isn't a one size fits all set of symptoms. As Linda describes “in these novel times we have two problems we are facing: the pandemic and the panic-demic.”
Jays, who works as both a clinical and counselling psychologist, has identified throughout her 25 years of practice the signs and symptoms that someone might be struggling with health related anxiety:
Negativity and “constant worrying and catastrophizing” for example always looking to the worst outcomes despite the evidence available.
Symptoms may also present physically for example through “muscle tension such as headache or backache” or difficulty sleeping.
Disordered eating patterns
Inability to relax, “feeling wired”
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to mental wellbeing in these unprecedented times. A few ways to manage health related anxiety are;
1. Seeking professional help and advice
2. Keep moving with regular physical activity, “exercise is super important,” Jays comments
4. Speak up, talk to friends and family
5. Limit alcohol and drug use, Linda explains that “these aggregate mental health.”
6. Eat a well balanced diet 4
7. Be mindful of your digital consumption and take a break from social media and the news cycle
For information, support and guidance from mental health professionals, contact Head to Health or Beyond Blue 1800 512 348. The Head to Health website provides resources and information specifically related to mental health and COVID-19.
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