|Posted on 22 April, 2020 at 20:15|
RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on people worldwide, and has implications here in New Zealand. Given the extensive media coverage of COVID-19, many New Zealanders are feeling stressed about the situation. Some anxiety is normal and can help us prepare and reduce our risk. Remember to wash your hands, stay home if you're sick, self-isolate as necessary, and don't spread panic. Make a wellbeing plan with exercise, good sleep and a healthy diet.
Too much anxiety can create and spread panic. With uncertain threats like this one, our anxious minds can overestimate the danger posed to us, and underestimate our ability to cope. If you find yourself thinking a lot about the impact of the virus, ask yourself “Am I Worrying or Planning?” WORRYING involves rumination about things beyond our control and worst-case scenarios, whereas PLANNING involves goal-focused problem-solving.
Are you finding it difficult to control worries about the virus? Is it impacting your ability to sleep, work, or enjoy life? When we are frequently exposed to negative news, we can become worried and fearful. Checking for updates too often can escalate anxiety and increase exposure to sensationalism and misinformation. Limiting exposure to news, sticking to reliable sources of information, and ensuring that you connect with people about things other than just this issue can help alleviate anxiety. When we receive and provide support we build our resilience and form stronger families and communities. Reach out to family, friends, and others you trust.
Anxious thoughts, feelings, or behaviours are our body’s reminder that we may need to take a break from exposure and engage in a positive activity instead. What do you enjoy doing? What helps you feel calm?
If you are unsure or feeling overwhelmed, you can also call our free 24/7 national ANXIETY HELPLINE (0800 ANXIETY; 0800 269 4389). Our trained volunteers can offer support and advice on coping with worry and other distressing thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. They can take you through brief and effective anxiety management interventions and discuss helpful distraction and relaxation strategies.
For more support, information, and advice about anxiety management for yourself or someone else (including children), please call our FREE 24/7 National ANXIETY HELPLINE (0800 ANXIETY; 0800 269 4389) or visit www.anxiety.org.nz