There’s a lot of uncertainty and stress about the current coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s easy to get caught up with fear and panic, but that can be mitigated by knowing the steps you can take, implementing them, and being confident that you are doing your part to minimize the risk of infection for yourself and others around you.
Everyday, each of us deals with other worries and fears that we are able to manage well, because we know we are taking precautions to stay safe – we put on seat belts, we slow down when driving through a school zone, we wear protective gear when the situation calls for it. Though COVID-19 is new, try to think of it in the same way – take the precautions you can individually, while also knowing that most people are also doing their best to limit the spread of the virus.
1. Get The Facts
When anything starts taking over the news like this, there is going to be a lot of speculation and false information circulating around as people share what they saw on social media or heard from a friend’s friend.
Make sure you are getting updates and following guidelines from official and credible sources, like the following pages on COVID-19:
– World Health Organization (WHO)
– Public Health Canada
– Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – US
– Department of Health Australia
2. Talk About Your Worries, Emotions, And Fears
The scale of COVID-19 is something we haven’t previously experienced, and it is normal to feel some anxiety about it.
It’s important to not keep these worries bottled up, and instead talk to trusted friends and family members about them. You’re likely to not be the only one feeling the way you do. Talking through things with others can help you feel less alone with your concerns. This also gives you a chance to reassure one another of the things you can and are doing to help minimize risk for yourself and others.
3. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
In stressful times, it’s important to stay on top of your health – continue to eat well, do your best to get quality sleep, stay connected with friends (over the phone or via social media) and stay physically active (e.g., go for a walk or run).
Our Practical Tips section has lots of info on ways to improve these aspects of your life.
If you are feeling stressed, check out our Stress Management section – now is a good time to start implementing different strategies to take extra care of your mental health. This might mean getting some fresh air by going for a walk, practicing deep breathing or other relaxation techniques, or simply winding down the day by watching something funny.
4. No Sports To Watch? Good Time To Catch Up On Other Things
With the NBA, NHL, and many other sports leagues suspended indefinitely, a lot of guys are suddenly having a lot more free time on their hands.
But this is a good opportunity to scratch some items off your to-do list.
5. Don’t Turn To Bad Coping Strategies
Don’t use smoking, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs to cope with extra stress or anxiety around COVID-19. Though these may give you a sense of short term relief, they will inevitably lead to other problems in the long term.
See our Stress Management page for healthy ways to cope, which will also improve your overall health.
6. Limit Time Spent Tracking COVID-19 News
If the news is starting to stress you out, limit how often you check for COVID-19 updates.
With the current 24-hour news cycle, stations often repeat the same information over and over, which can make it seem like things are worse than they are. Similarly, many news sites will use sensational headlines to grab your attention. Checking these repeatedly over the day can be stressful and exhausting.
Remember, there are other parts to life than COVID-19.
7. Keep In Mind That This Outbreak Will End
Though it’s going to be an inconvenience to take precautions against a potential health risk to yourself, friends, and family – keep in mind that this COVID-19 outbreak won’t last forever. The extra stress and worry from this will eventually settle down and pass.
8. Reach Out, If You Need Extra Support
If you feel yourself being overwhelmed by stress and worry, and your usual stress management strategies don’t seem to be doing enough, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support. We’re all in this together, so never feel like you have to work through this on your own. A lot of professionals can consult via phone or online.
* The tips above have been adapted from the WHO’s Coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.