“Helping you gain control over the things you want to change”

Fiona Nicolson

My 10 point plan for coping with health anxiety about the Corona virus

Posted on 07 April 2020

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know I often talk about resilience. That is the ability to deal with the bad things which life can throw at you and still remain a mentally healthy and well person.

We are all being tested at the moment. And I know many of my clients who are trying to cope with feelings around the coronavirus are finding it very difficult. Health anxiety and the Corona virus is a real thing. It can be dealt with and I am going to give you my take on it.

There are a number of reasons why this health crisis is particularly challenging.

  1. There is a level of uncertainty, none of us can be sure what is going to happen.
  2. It does not always appear that ‘the grownups are in charge’ as different governments adopt different strategies.
  3. A lot of people are trying to avoid going out and this can be isolating.
  4. There are a lot of rumours flying around and this can greatly increase anxiety.

I think it is as important that we look after our mental health as our physical health at this time. If you do suffer from health anxiety then try to set up a consultation, possibly over Skype, Zoom or the phone, with a therapist such as myself who specialises in this area.

Fiona’s 10-point plan for coping with health anxiety about the Corona virus

  1. Use social media sparingly and sensibly. Avoid rumour and speculation and stick to recognised experts. But do use social media to keep up with friends and family and make sure to tell each other your non-virus news. It is amazing how much a picture of a beloved family pet or the kids of your best friend can calm you and cheer you up.
  2. Stay informed. The unknown is nearly always scarier than the known. But use reliable sources of information.
  3. Have a routine to help you cope. Meditation, self-hypnosis, and a daily walk can all be good.
  4. Do not obsess. Check your favoured reliable news source on a regular schedule and no more. I would suggest once a day, but you may feel more often or more rarely suits you better. But do make sure you are not constantly checking your phone. This can be hard at the moment, so work out a strategy. Choose some non-news things on your phone which interest you instead.
  5. If you have children be honest with them. Remember they will pick up on your fears so work out how to talk to them in an age-appropriate manner. There are numerous sources of information on the web about how to do this. I liked this one, it is clear, goes step by step and is honest. https://www.amny.com/coronavirus/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-coronavirus-tips-from-an-expert/
  6. Be kind to people who are not mentally coping well. It will make you feel better. Try to avoid arguing online with people who say silly things. It will just raise your anxiety levels.
  7. Develop an exercise routine. Exercise releases endorphins which will calm you.
  8. Eat well. This will boost your general health and it is pleasant.
  9. Change your focus. Be peaceful at home. Take advantage of time with your family if you can. Catch up on jobs around the house which you are usually too busy to do. Perhaps read that long book you always wanted to.
  10. Remember that this will pass. Be positive about your future plans.

I will write more as the situation develops. Check on my Facebook page as well, where I will be posting regular updates.

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