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Suggestions: How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health
Coronavirus is a serious situation and deserves your vigilance and attention — but the deluge of information, precautions and warnings can take a real toll on your mental health.
Here are some tips on maintaining a happy medium:
- Pare down your sources of information. Find a few sources you trust, like the CDC or a community authority, and stick with them. Limit the frequency of your updates, be disciplined with your social media use and know when to walk away.
- Name your fears. It may help to sit down and really consider what specific threats worry you. If your fears are practical ones, think about a plan: What are other options if you can’t telework? Do you have savings or support? Being prepared for your fears will help keep them in scale.
- Think outside yourself: Since action can allay our anxieties, you may want to also consider what you can do to help others who may be more affected by the outbreak than you, like service or hourly workers who may have to put themselves in disproportionate danger.
- Seek support, but do it wisely. If you want to run to a friend to discuss the latest outbreak cluster or your family’s contingency plans, try not to create an echo chamber where overwhelmed people further overwhelm each other. Look for someone who is handling it differently, or for professional help if it’s an available option.
- Pay attention to your basic needs. Don’t forget the essential, healthy practices that affect your wellbeing every day — getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, physical activity, and getting outside as much as possible.
- Don’t chastise yourself for worrying. You are allowed to worry or feel bad, and those feelings are valid in times of crisis. The key is to work toward understanding and contextualizing your fears so they don’t keep you from living your healthiest life.