With the onslaught of COVID-19 information it is easy to become worried and anxious. Some states are ending their stay-at-home orders while others are holding on. Here are a few tips on staying calm and stepping away during the pandemic.
Try to be a source of calm for your loved ones.1 It isn’t easy with the pandemic fear but the calmer you are in front of your loved ones, the better. Children especially are looking at trusted adults for their cues during this challenging time.
Feeling Thermometer. Dr. Aureen-Wagner from The Anxiety Wellness Center has created a complementary Feeling Thermometer to download for assessing how you are feeling in the current moment. My scores seem to fall in the 4 to 7 range. My husband was fired eight weeks ago due to COVID-19 so that hangs heavy on my heart and makes some days more difficult. What’s your score today? It’s good to check your score every few days as circumstances change.
Limit Your COVID-19 Coverage Intake
Is it a Trusted Source? Geisinger Health & Wellness says, “There is no shortage of COVID-19 coverage to consume, and it changes moment by moment. Instead of constantly refreshing your social media feeds or staying glued to news coverage, seek reliable information from trusted sources, you’ll feel well-informed and less anxious.”2
At first, it seemed that I was watching hours of news which resulted in worry and fear. Eventually, I chose one station and time of day to watch the news. I don’t have to compare multiple points of view but get the news consistently. That has worked much better for me. What about your consumption of the pandemic news?
Taking Breaks. “Taking breaks from the news helps distance yourself, even a little, from what’s going on and avoid getting overwhelmed.”2 Instead of keeping the news on constantly, spend time doing another activity. This will remove yourself from the bombardment of news that can be hard to dodge.
Effects of Screen Time. While we need to stay informed to keep ourselves and others safe, we need breaks from screen time. “Time spent with screens can cause us to feel dysregulated, anxious, and depressed.”3
Limit your Social Media
“Whether it’s the news, social media, or emails, stop consuming excessive content that adds to your fear, stress, and anxiety. There’s a fine line between staying informed and giving in to the ego that loves drama.”4
Effects of Social Media. “Take care of yourself by unplugging from the smart world; say goodbye to brain fatigue, eye strain, neck pain, disrupted sleep and loss of attention.”5
Finally, stay calm for your loved ones. Step back from the news and social media. Put your phone away for periods of time. “Create a calm and peaceful head-space where you’re not pulled into the craze and panic.”4
- Self Care during COVID-19. https://iocdf.org/covid19/self-care-during-covid-19/
- Make time for self-care during a self-quarantine, Published Mar. 18, 2020 https://www.geisinger.org/health-and-wellness/wellness-articles/2020/03/18/17/56/self-care-during-quarantine
3. A Self-Care Alphabet for Week 4 of Quarantine, Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Psy.D., Posted Apr 10, 2020 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/deviced/202004/self-care-alphabet-week-4-quarantine
- 10 Different Ways to Practice Self-Care, Emily Ferguson, February 24, 2020, https://www.trendymami.com/10-different-ways-to-practice-self-care/
- 15 Self Care Ideas for Coronavirus Quarantine https://www.lavendaire.com/staycation/
Good article, Dr. Fritzemeier. Thanks for your excellent thoughts and advice.