How to Extinguish Panic & Paranoia

Once again, I’ve let my writing habit slip. What can I say – but I’ve been busy.

But one of the main reasons I’ve not written is because I’ve been truly stumped about what to write about – my mind hasn’t fallen down a rabbit hole of thought about anything recently other than the dreaded Coronavirus.

Before you look away – I know, I get it, I’m sick of thinking about it too – I’m not here to add fuel to the fear mongering, and I’m certainly not here to deepen anyones anxieties like has been done to me.

The Coronavirus is scary – there is no doubt about that. And following suit from our seperatist and individulaist ways, most of us weren’t that anxious until it really started to move away from China in the last fortnight.

With xenophobic and racist fake news, memes and rumours spreading through the internet we thought we were almost immune to it. Aslong as we don’t travel to China we will be fine. But now it’s upon us and while W.H.O. experts and the likes throw weighted words like “pandemic” and “past the point of containment” around, it is of the utmost importance that we stay calm.

Trust me I know, how on earth can we stay calm? It’s like every sci-fi movie and the virus is coming for us? Except its not.

Take a breath.

Generally, I have a, shall we say, disposition to think cynically and often anxiety propels the way I think. I thought it must just be me feeling worried and that I need to get a grip. But then I thought – what if it’s not just me?

I’ve come to realise that it’s not the fear of the virus that fuels me, but rather, the fear of the breakdown of society. And now I know that this all burgeons from a lack of faith in the government.

Faith in the authorities that run our countries has been twindling for some time now following numerous dictorial acts, controversial statements, and hidden documents coming to light.

And now comes the ultimate test for them: how can they contain the virus and keep the public honestly informed without fuelling fear?

Many people have attempted to reassure me by saying – “you will probably get the coronavirus, but you’ll be okay!” or “better to be one of the first to get the coronavirus, then you’ll get top notch treatment!” or “wouldn’t it be fun to have two weeks off work to read and watch telelvision all day?!”

To your surprise or perhaps agreement, reader, these statements did not infact comfort me. It’s like when someone with death anxiety is told – “hey, we’re all going to die one day! It’s the only guarantee in life so just accept it!”

It never quite evokes the reassurance that the comforter inteneded.

So following all these overwhelming feelings – I found myself this morning googling “comforting news about the coronavirus” only to be bombarded with titles like “STATEMENT BY EXPERT NOT COMFORTING” and so on.

Then, I googled – “good news about the coronavirus” and to my surprise I came across this article by the New York Times about the good and the bad news, and it actually was rather comforting. And this psychcentral article, albeit a few weeks old, was also good.

Yet, I found myself momentarily angry.

Why have we gotten to a point where bad news really is good news for search engines like google and media outlets?

Evoking fear causes more clicks, more searches and more reads which for them equates a lot more money.

So I decided – enough. I’m going to create my own no-guarantee but highly recommended top tips for over-coming coronavirus anxiety.

  1. Put down your phone and limit yourself
    If you find your anxiety revving up while you scroll social media – turn off your phone! You’ve probably maxed out your social media time for the day. Go for a walk, or if going outside is not appealing, put on your favourite movie, or get in the kitchen and do some theraputic baking or cooking.

    Limit your coronavirus content to a 5 minute update every day, or check one or two publications – stop yourself from refreshing updates throughout the day.
  2. Practice hygine!
    Of course, this should go without saying but I find it kind of nice to think that by simply staying clean, I’m doing my part to combat the virus. Wash your hands properly (which may sound moronic but some people don’t do it right!) while singing your ABC’s, get some hand sanitizer to put on after using public transport or going to the gym, etc.

    If your pharmacy has run out of hand sanitizer, do not panic! This is to be expected because everyone is also freaking out thanks to sensationalist media. Simply check out a few different pharmacies in your area and ask them when it will be back in stock.
  3. Stock up a little
    Don’t stock up for the apocolypse, but maybe there’s certain medicines or supplements you need that could up your supply of to avoid being left vulnerable. Stock up a little simply to ease your mind – but don’t be that person who pours shelves of stock into their trollies and causes everyone else panic over food shortages.
  4. Eat well and exercise
    This should go without saying, but making sure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals is vital for your immunity and will help your body combat any illnesses. Exercisisng is important for your health as you know, but it’s also good to calm your mind, distract you and release stress. And of course – stay hydrated
  5. If you are sick, stay home
    Not because you may have the coronavirus, but because if you’re feeling a little unwell your immune system is already minorly comprimised, and it needs time to recover so that it can fight off all the illnesses in the public realm.
  6. Know what to do
    Find out what you need to do if you do suspect you have the virus. Whether there is a number you need to call, a place you should go etc. Don’t spend days worried if you have it or not, continuing with your normal day to day routine. However, if you don’t display any of the symptoms, or have not travelled to a high risk area, do not overwhelm the already overstretched health services with your corona-paranoia
  7. Know the symptoms
    Familiarise yourself with the symptoms so you know what to look for. Generally they are; fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  8. Check in with friends and family
    If you don’t feel like going out and visiting friends, invite them over or call and skype them. Relationships with family and friends statistically reduce stress and anxiety, and sometimes the simple reminder that life goes on and your relationships are the same is soothing in itself. You will probably feel less alone in your worry and comforted by their seemingly lack of panic or their similar concerns – or maybe, avoid the topic altogether.

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