Are you experiencing feelings of worry and anxiety during today’s uncertainties?
According to Dr. Tina Montreuil, an assistant professor in the department of educational and counselling psychology at McGill University, anxiety is a normal response to the current situation.
Even though this may be true, it still doesn’t help us when it comes to dealing with these feelings.
So how do we manage anxiety in a world where uncertainty is inevitable?
Dr. Montreuil says that the first step to doing this is to accept that some things are beyond our control. If you don’t, it will make it harder to cope with the situation, she says.
Once you accept that you cannot control the world around you, you can start to develop important tactics to managing your feelings of worry in these stressful times.
Seven tips to help manage your worries
Dr. Gina Di Giulio, mental health director at Medcan, has created seven tips to keep calm in a crisis:
- Focus on the facts, not the fiction
The majority of people that are contracting COVID-19 are recovering fairly quickly and with no residual side effects, even though the media may tell us otherwise.
Good sources to check for information on the COVID-19 situation are the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These sources are known to provide accurate information to readers, unlike some other internet sources.
- Turn off the tap
If you’re getting worried or upset due to the constant influx of news that we have been receiving, just turn it off. Take a break from the TV and social media and do something you love. Not everything has to be about the virus all the time. It has to be about your mental health too.
- Seek out calm people
Avoid being around people who can heighten your anxiety further than it already is. Trying to be around people who are calm can be a huge help to your mental health.
- Business as usual
As much as you can, continue with your usual routines or start new routines to help you feel more like yourself. Talk to friends, family or coworkers over the phone as much as you did previously. Though your life may change due to this situation, it does not need to change that much.
- Practice self-care
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, keep your regular workout schedule (at home), and eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Practice meditation, mindfulness, and other relaxing techniques. Remember to think about yourself as well as others, because you’re important too!
- Focus on what you can control
According to Medcan, focusing on the things you can control (like keeping the house clean, doing work from home or crossing something small off your to-do list) can boost your mental health and reduce your feelings of anxiety.
- Focus on real life
Put down the phone or the laptop and do something fun with your family and friends. Listen to some music, play card games with your family or bake something delicious. Take your mind off the stressful situation we’re in and focus on the good things in life, if just for an hour or two.
In conclusion, we’d like to leave you with this quote, taken from Dr. Abdhu Sharkawy’s Letter from Toronto: An Infectious Diseases Specialist Reflects on COVID-19:
“We need to temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society.”
Remember to have compassion and patience for others, and remember to, as Dr. Di Giulio mentioned in her Medcan article, focus on the facts, not the speculation.
We are all in this together.