The coronavirus pandemic has taken over headlines and caused unprecedented effects worldwide. People have been instructed to quarantine and practice social distancing for the upcoming weeks as government and health officials are dedicating time and resources to prevent further spread of the disease.
The chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has stirred up a lot of uncertainty and stress. Researchers agree that quarantining and reducing the amount of contact with others is the best way to “flatten the curve,” or slow down the exponential spread of the virus. Although this will help your physical health, it can be damaging to your mental health.
Instead of being able to carry out normal routines, quarantining has forced people to stay home from work and school and put their lives on hold.
The disruption of normal daily routines can be stressful and anxiety-provoking. Being stuck in the house all day can lead to feeling lonely and cut off from the world. For people who live by themselves, the idea of staying home can feel even more isolating.
The extensive media coverage of the pandemic has caused panic and unrest. Each day there are thousands of new headlines causing fear worldwide. The government has placed heightened restrictions to try to slow the spread of the virus, and fears of grocery shortages sparked people to race to the stores to stock up and prepare for the worst-case scenario.
For people who already suffer from anxiety, the current situation can lead to an increase in common symptoms such as distress, panic and trouble sleeping. The indefinite time frame for isolation also generates fears about the future, especially concern for the safety of loved ones placed in high-risk groups for contracting the coronavirus due to age or underlying illness.
Despite all of this, there are many resources available that can help keep you calm during quarantine and allow you to spend your time at home in a productive and healthy manner.
Instead of spending your day in front of the television, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests taking a break from watching the news and using your free time to take a walk, read a book, call friends and family, exercise and take time to unwind. Creating a new daily routine will help you stay on track with your goals and be prepared to return to your normal life once quarantining is over.
Many healthcare providers are also offering over-the-phone appointments to address concerns from patients and maintain communication channels remotely. This is especially helpful for people who require regular doctor appointments not associated with the coronavirus but do not want to risk their physical health by going to a hospital or clinic.
Apps like TalkSpace and BetterHelp offer anxiety management programs from professional, licensed counselors. These digital mental health resources are convenient to use from home and are useful if you are having trouble contacting your healthcare provider.
It is normal to feel scared and anxious during a virus outbreak. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, take action to address your concerns through the above methods and by sharing your fears with people you trust. Although you may feel overwhelmed by the situation at hand, it is important to make your mental and physical health a top priority.
Emma Gehr is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.