The new strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19, is in every headline at the moment, with many news outlets sharing frightening statistics and figures and causing widespread anxiety.
As with any outbreak, it is of course important to stay informed, however when we are obsessing over the headlines to the extent that it impacts our mental health, there are boundaries we need to put in place.
News-related anxiety is a very real issue in our society. Smartphones give us constant access to news bulletins, twitter and other social mediums that are full of people scaremongering and reminding us of reasons to be afraid.
However, living in fear is never the sensible strategy. While it can seem much easier said than done, we have put together some top tips on what you can do to cope with Coronavirus-related anxiety.
Manage your news consumption to deal with anxiety
While it’s tempting to constantly be checking for updates on the news, it doesn’t do your state of mind any good. It’s also important to remember that many media outlets rely on click bait for their views, meaning that headlines will often be dramatic and include triggering phrases such as ‘pandemic’.
You can also manage your news consumption by deleting news apps off your phone or disabling push notification.
It might seem like Coronavirus is all everyone is talking about at the moment, so it’s important to make sure not the whole of your time is spent thinking about it. Go out with friends, have a good time and just unwind.
Global outbreaks such as the Coronavirus can be a lot for us all to deal with, especially if you re already prone to anxiety. Make sure to practice some self care and look after yourself, even if that means taking a break from work or studying.
Put it into perspective
Remember that every development with Coronavirus will be reported by every news outlet. This can make it seem like these headlines are happening every five seconds. Instead of looking at it on a global scale, try to focus on your local situation alone, rather than looking at the whole picture. Ask yourself, what is the current situation in your state? What is the local advice?
The statistics on the number of people that have been infected and killed are scary, however the rapid spread of the virus has not been an unexpected occurrence to government officials.
Based on the data of 17,000 patients with the coronavirus, the World Health Organization says that 3 percent of those with the virus become critically ill. At present, 82 percent of people who are infected develop only mild symptoms.
The coronavirus has been tricky to keep from spreading due to the fact that these 82 percent only experience mild symptoms, believing themselves to be fit to get out and about, thus spreading the virus to other people. With other outbreaks of Coronavirus such as SARS, it did not spread on the same scale as COVID-19 due to patients becoming very ill very quickly.
Know where the worry comes from
News-related anxiety is common, but it can usually be managed by simple steps such as managing your media consumption. However, if you are experiencing serious symptoms of anxiety, it may be due to a larger mental health issue. Anxiety relating to the Coronavirus is normal, however if the worry you feel is effecting your every day life and ability to complete tasks, it is worth seeing a counsellor or doctor to talk about it in more depth.