How to cope during the COVID-19 outbreak with depression and anxiety? That’s a really good question!
The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting everyone! How do we cope with social distancing and isolation when we already suffer from depression and anxiety?
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Living Through the COVID-19 Outbreak
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared the CoronaVirus a pandemic. Let’s look at what that actually means.
An epidemic is usually a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease, similar to an outbreak. But it is most often limited to a geographical region.
It becomes a pandemic when a new virus emerges, spreads quickly to large numbers of people around the world because most people do not have immunity to it. The virus spreads rapidly from person to person.
To read more about this information visit the CNBC website or view the video below about pandemics.
Coping With Social Distancing
By nature we humans tend to be social creatures! Most of us love interacting with each other. Being social is a big part of our lives. Be it at work around the water cooler, after hours at a club, bar or restaurant, or weekend meals with friends and family.
Seems that right now even going to a movie theater by yourself is not such a good idea. So how should we cope with all this social distancing that is recommended right now?
Perhaps we should remember the day and age we live in! Let’s rely on our tech savvy world we have at our fingertips for our social time! Try some of the following to get your social time in;
- Video chats with family and friends
- Simple phone calls
- Group chat messages with friends
- Online games that allow multiple players
- Binge watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. with household members
- Create watch parties on Facebook
- Start an online Book club to read and discuss a book
However, socialization isn’t the only concern during this recommendation of social distancing. Now that schools and businesses are closing many people are facing the real concern of being off work.
Bills do not stop coming due for this coronavirus. While we cannot go to work to earn a paycheck, the bills continue to accrue. We still need money to pay rent/mortgage, utilities and buy groceries.
Some people are fortunate enough to work from home, but majority are not! There lies the real dilemma. This is also where true depression, anxiety and even panic starts to set in for most people. Especially those who already suffer from depression and anxiety.
Coping with Anxiety During COVID-19 Outbreak
Let’s look at simple facts first. COVID-19 is a new virus like we haven’t seen or experienced before. The White House is putting forth national recommendations that are closing our schools and many of our social gathering places like we have never experienced before.
Most people, especially the younger generations, have never experienced this type of thing, at least not during their adult lives. All it took was for people to hear the advice to “stock-up” and mass hysteria set in.
Panic took over and everyone went out to the stores and started stockpiling and hoarding ALL kinds of supplies as if the end of the world was near.
CALM DOWN, PEOPLE!! Think rationally for a minute! The recommendation to “stock-up” simply meant to buy your normal groceries and a little extra that would last you at least 15 days. Also, buy cold medicine and Tylenol/ibuprofen even if you were not sick at the time so in case you became sick. This is so in case you do become sick you are not going to the store and infecting other people!!! Basic common sense, people! No need to act irrational and cause mass hysteria. This mass panic buying only makes it more difficult for stores to keep the shelves stocked and for more people to be able to get what they truly need! YOU are adding to the problems by doing this!
Who is at High Risk for COVID-19?
Another way to help calm your anxiety during this time is to take time to rationally assess your risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Go to the CDC website for information. But let’s look at who the CDC says is at higher risk:
- Older Adults
- People with compromised immune systems (underlying diseases and cancer patients)
- People of any age with Heart disease, Diabetes, or Lung Disease, this can include Asthma, even children!
- And of course our health care workers!
How to Help Decrease Your Risk of Infection
Let’s also look at ways to help decrease your risk of being infected. They are rather simple and common sense actually.
- Wash your hands often and properly!
- Don’t touch your face. (don’t pick your nose!)
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people
- Do not go out from home unless absolutely necessary
- Avoid hugs and handshakes. practice social distancing
If you think you might be sick please go to this USA Today article for great information on what to do and how to help assess your symptoms.
Feeling Anxious About COVID-19
Are you still feeling anxious and perhaps a bit depressed by the situation concerning the spread of COVID-19? Then stay informed with the right information. Go to the WHO or CDC websites, do not solely depend on social media.
CDC updates the latest number of reported and confirmed cases. You can go to their website here to see the confirmed cases and reported deaths in the USA.
Depression and Anxiety
The best ways to cope with depression and anxiety during the social distancing recommendation of this outbreak is to concentrate on positive things in your life. I know this is easier said than done. I suffer from depression and anxiety even before all this started, so I honestly understand.
Concentrate on the fact that social distancing is a way to try and slow down the spread of this virus. This hopefully will not become a new way of life that lasts for a really long time. Especially if we all do our part to pull together and abide by these recommendations as a nation perhaps we can get this invisible enemy under control sooner rather than later.
You can also go to this CDC article on Managing Anxiety and Stress for more information and ways to cope with mental issues during this time.
If you take a few moments to really think about what the CDC and The White House are recommending, it all does make some kind of sense. This virus is rapidly spreading from person to person. So if we limit our physical, personal contact with each other then obviously we should limit the spread of the virus.
So let’s do it, people! To hell with allowing this virus to continue spreading! Take away the coronavirus’s power to spread in an effort to eradicate this beast!
Don’t Let Fear Contol You
I am in the “older adult” range with immunocompromised conditions. I suffer from heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and lung disease. I’m definitely in the high risk for COVID-19 category.
Logically, I am extremely concerned for myself, and also my family. My two young grandsons also suffer from severe asthma. It is very difficult for me to limit myself from being with my family, especially the grandchildren at this time.
As I’ve already mentioned, I suffer from depression and anxiety for over 20 years now. I’m very anxious right now over everything that is going on around us. However, I refuse to live in fear or to let fear control me.
Concentrating daily on the little things that I can control in my own personal life helps me to cope with my anxiety. That’s all we can do. So I ask that each of you do what you can to help prevent the spread of this virus. Take control of your own personal space, your own life and your own family.
While taking control of your own space and family, also remember to be kind and think of your neighbor. When you go to the store to “stock-up” don’t just impulse buy. Leave some on the shelves for the next person.
Better yet, think about if you have an elderly neighbor that can’t get out to the store or maybe on a fixed income. Do something nice for them and pick up an extra gallon of milk, water or loaf of bread and take it to them. Perhaps even a bottle of Tylenol. You can easily knock on their door, set it down and step back, still practicing social distancing while helping someone else.
We really are all in this together, so let’s work together to get through it.
Leave me a comment with your thoughts and ideas of ways you are coping during this time.
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Until next time,