Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Coronavirus & self-isolation: How to cope with anxiety and fear

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken over the world. People in most of the affected countries have been instructed to stay indoors, self-isolate and practice social distancing.

In the UK, a country-wide lockdown has been in place for 2 weeks. You may have found yourself on either side of the barrier: you may be working from home and self-isolating or you may be a key worker, such as a carer, working to help others.

The coronavirus pandemic is something unprecedented in our time. Sure, there have been other viruses in the past, the world has seen pandemics before, but this is a novel virus. The novelty of the virus causes uncertainty. Uncertainty causes anxiety.

Whether you are a frontline worker, office worker or any other type of essential worker, this situation will have caused you or is causing you some type of anxiety, small or big. This anxiety may be related to your health and the health of your loved ones, money, job security, essentials or the current developments in the world.

No matter what stems your anxiety or fear, it’s essential to remember that all will pass. The main things to remember are to keep your mind healthy, keep your body healthy and follow the current safety and security advice. Read on for more advice on how to deal with anxiety and fear during the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep in control of your life

In times of uncertainty, such as the coronavirus pandemic, when you feel like you do not have control over the outside world, focus on the inside world - on your own life and the things that you can control. Keeping on top of the things you can take care of yourself will keep anxiety at bay and offer you a sense of balance in your life.

When you feel like your focus has shifted towards world events and as a result, your anxiety levels are rising, focus on things that you have control over. Move your attention to the steps you can make in your daily life, steps which can improve your personal health and therefore lower anxiety and fear.

One step you can take to battle anxiety is looking after yourself. Following medical and government advice will make you feel a sense of security and less anxiety generally. Some things you can do in order to manage your anxiety are:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay inside as much as possible
  • Go outside only to shop for essentials or to exercise
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • Get enough rest

Avoid excessive consumption of news

As important as it may be to keep up to date on current events in the world, news can also cause a lot of anxiety for an individual. Especially now, since the coronavirus outbreak, we are living in quite uncertain times.

It’s essential to limit the amount of news you consume each day, as this will only escalate your anxiety. The best thing to do is to pick a time of the day to read your news. Depending on what works for you, you can choose to read your news in the morning with a cup of coffee, at lunchtime or later in the evening after more developments have come to light.

To keep your anxiety down it’s ideal that you also filter your news. Maintain a good balance between the informative events that you are reading and other long-reads. More than this, there are plenty of online news sources which simply specialise in delivering good news daily! This is sure to keep any anxiety or fears on a minimum.

Stay connected

This seems like a very obvious point. But it’s good to have a reminder from time to time, as we tend to get caught up in our busy lives. Keeping connected to your dear ones is essential in having a happy mind any time - but especially now, during the coronavirus pandemic, when your anxiety levels may be higher, it’s more important than ever.

It’s so easy to stay connected nowadays. Even a quick phone call can make a world of difference in your mental state and therefore lower any anxiety that you may feel. You should try to simply pick up your phone and call someone who you know will bring you comfort and release any fears or anxiety. This can be your mum, your grandmother, your best friend - whoever you feel like you can talk to and lift your spirits.

You don’t need to feel pressure to speak about your anxiety, fears or concerns regarding the world. What may make you feel even better is avoiding the subject altogether. Have a video call with one or more of your closest friends and talk about anything you know will ease your anxiety. You will not only help yourself but also make your friends’ days better.

Anxiety is common for anyone. Every one of us experiences anxiety in one form or another. You should find comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Despite social distancing, we are all in this together.

These are just a few tips on how to cope with anxiety and fear during the coronavirus pandemic. If you feel that you need further help in managing your anxiety you can try speaking to a medical professional.

If you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, visit and self-isolate at home. If you know someone who is struggling at home during these times and they require care, Guardian Carers are available for any care needs at home, on a temporary or permanent basis.

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