Suggested by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), here are four ways to cope with COVID-19 and health anxiety.*
1. Accept that some anxiety and fear is normal. COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning about it. The uncertainty about the virus and the changes that are unfolding can make most people feel a bit anxious. This is normal, and it can help motivate us to take action to protect ourselves and others, and to learn more about the pandemic.
2. Find a balance. Stay tuned in but know when to take a breather. While staying informed is helpful, too much information may not provide extra benefit. Limit checking sources to once per day or less if you can. This includes reading or listening to news stories about COVID-19. Even though things are shifting rapidly, daily changes are not likely to affect how you should manage your risk.
3. Deal with problems in a structured way. All the issues you might need to address during this pandemic situation may feel overwhelming. It can be useful to identify which things are actual problems that need to be solved or addressed, and which are just worries that are not necessarily grounded in reality.
4. Decrease other stress. COVID-19 is probably not the only source of stress in your life right now. Consider addressing other sources of stress to reduce your overall level of anxiety. Practicing relaxation and meditation or other strategies you may have used in the past that have helped.
“Being in a constant state of fear takes a toll on our physical and mental health. It fills us with anxiety and burdens us with depression – both of which are amplified by isolation. Reaching out for support in these times is essential to our health and well-being.”
Dr. Jennifer Heintzman - Hasu Clinical Support Coordinator