As a mother, a sister, a relative, a daughter, and a friend; and as a perimenopausal woman in her 50’s who is prone to anxiety; and as a human whose immune system is compromised so she gets sick very easily¹, the Coronavirus ‘pandemic’ has pushed all my buttons to elevate my anxiety to levels I’ve not experienced before. On the back of such a traumatic start to 2020, is it any wonder.
This kind of virus outbreak situation is like nothing I’ve seen before in my lifetime. It’s everywhere you turn. There’s no avoiding it. No possibility of pretending it’s not happening. It’s on my phone. It’s on my computer. It’s on my TV. It’s in the conversations with friends and family. It’s on your mind every time someone sneezes, sniffs, or coughs near you. It’s not just overseas anymore. It’s on our doorstep.
I’ve seen articles and posts by some people who think it’s all an over-reaction and there’s too much panic. I’ve seen articles and posts by people who say the polar opposite. If you refer back to my first paragraph, you can see why Coronavirus has pushed my anxiety buttons to the max. In all honesty, I believe this is not a time to be complacent. We all have a responsibility to take steps to protect not just ourselves but others and do whatever we can to reduce/prevent the possibility of further spread.
I don’t wish to add to the frenzy or panic around this virus but I do want to 1) acknowledge the mental health effects from the fear caused by this outbreak, and share a few tips that might be useful, and 2) share a few basic steps to help protect ourselves and prevent further spread.
In October and November last year, I spent two months very sick with pneumonia from a RUN OF THE MILL VIRUS. To anyone who is elderly, or has immunity issues, or whose health is compromised in some way which leaves them vulnerable, they too would be feeling anxious about the Coronavirus. The young and healthy may not be so anxious, but they still need to be cautious and take appropriate precautions – for themselves and for the benefit of those around them!
These days I’m home a lot more than in prior years. If I go out it’s mostly local or over to the other side of Brisbane to visit my Mum or over to Wacol to the RSPCA in my capacity as foster carer. I no longer travel on public transport. I no longer sit all day in concrete buildings with recirculating airconditioning that picks up the germs of all its occupants. However, the tennis player (hubby) and my two sons do travel on public transport every day. They do sit in those concrete buildings with recirculating airconditioning, and they come home every evening to me. This is how I have got the last two viruses that have made me sick – the one that put me in hospital in October/November 2019 and the one that I am currently still recovering from (which thankfully has not turned to pneumonia or put me in hospital).
So what can I do to protect myself? What can I do to calm my anxiety? What can others do to protect and calm themselves too?
Steps for Protection and Prevention
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Refer to the demonstration on how to properly wash your hands in the video below.
2. Keep distance from anyone who is coughing and/or sneezing (at least 1 metre)
3. Avoid touching your face – in particular your eyes, nose and mouth
4. Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze and/or cough (to protect the people around you). See demonstration in video bellow.
5. If you have a fever, cough or breathing problems please stay home and seek medical care
6. Ensure that everyone in your family and/or those living in your home follows all of the above tips
Coping with Stress and Anxiety as a result of this outbreak
- Familiarise yourself with the protection and prevention steps above
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – eg good diet, sleep, exercise
- Don’t resort to smoking or alcohol to deal with stress
- Speak to your doctor if you have any particular concerns or need reassurance on preventative protective measures
- Limit the time that you expose yourself to media coverage that elevates your stress and anxiety
- Self Care. Self Care. Self Care! Draw on the usual things you do to help yourself when you’re feeling stressed, down and/or anxious. Do nice things for yourself to calm yourself – eg walks in nature, a soak in a bath, meditation, lunch with a friend etc
It’s only natural that this Coronavirus outbreak will increase anxiety and stress amongst us, but let’s try and step up looking after ourselves and others because too much stress will only makes matters worse and we are all worth looking after don’t you think?
Have you felt your anxiety and stress levels elevate lately? I hope the tips within this post might help you. Feel free to share any further tips in the comments. Wishing you good health and happiness always.
Ciao for now,
¹ I have an Immunoglobulin A deficiency, Hypothyroidism. and basically I’ve never had a very strong constitution. I was a sickly child, had asthma through my childhood and in my 20’s and when I get sick it generally lays me low longer than the average person.