The COVID-19 Survival Guide13 Apr 2020
COVID-19 continues to ravage the world, with many more cases popping up, increasing economic insecurity, and bringing the threat of job loss. There are events being cancelled all around, and you may be stuck at home. If you’re someone who has been working from home, or has experienced immense stress, anxiety, and isolation from COVID-19, this is for you. Let’s tackle some of the common concerns you may have as you cope with this virus, and how to handle them without resorting to drastic measures.
Of course, one of the biggest concerns is the worry of developing the virus COVID-19. If you’re younger and have a good immune system, you may worry less about you, but instead about spreading it to older family members or someone who is immunocompromised. You may also experience hypochondria, where every sniffle you make is a sign that you’ve contracted the virus, when in reality it’s just pollen season.
Plus, there’s scary, contradicting information out there. You may see articles about how the virus will infect the majority of people, or about how you’re going to lose your job. If you were already anxious, it can be difficult for you to manage your anxiety. Here are some tips for you:
- Be smart about your news consumption. Keep informed, but don’t obsess over the news. If people are spreading misinformation or scary articles, don’t be afraid to snooze, unfollow, or mute them for a while. Have a time where you catch up.
- Remember, springtime is here, so if you experience a runny nose, painful throat, or some coughing, it could be allergies. Talk to a doctor if you feel short of breath or have a fever.
- Do something that makes you calm. Get into a new hobby, meditate, listen to some relaxing music, or take a hot bath. Live for yourself.
- Exercise. If you must, order some weights or other exercise equipment, or make with what you have at home. Exercise can help with your mental health and anxiety.
- Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough can make your anxiety worse. Don’t read too much about COVID-19 before bed. Spend the final hour of your day doing something that lets you relax or unwind. Should you be unable to fall asleep, get up and do something that makes you tired.
- Try to use online doctor resources to help you get prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications should you need it.
- Avoid anything that triggers your anxiety. As we said, regulating your social media is a good start.
Social isolation means you’re stuck at home with your family, roommates, or alone. It’s not recommended to get less than 6 feet to a person. As a result, you may feel more isolated than usual. Here are some ways to cope:
- Schedule some video chats with your friends and family. Maybe have a night on the weekend where you have a few beers or nonalcoholic beverages with your friends over Skype.
- Stay on social media, but as we mentioned, use it wisely. Don’t let yourself get too absorbed in what is happening in the world.
- Social isolation doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house. Go for walks or jogs outside, especially if you live in an area with nature and wide open spaces. Just make sure you avoid people, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after you return home.
- Now is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning. Rearrange the house, order some new supplies, or do anything else you can to make your home feel more inviting. This way, you can keep you busy while you’re socially isolated.
Working From Home
If your job sent you home to work, it can be a big culture shock. Working from home is an increasingly popular way for people to make a living, but it’s not for everyone. Here are some tips if you’re working from home:
- Have a space dedicated to working from home. You don’t need an entire room for an office, but you should have a small space, be it your desk in the corner or another area, where you can work.
- If you have a laptop, work on your porch or another area. The sunlight can be good for you.
- Make sure your surrounding area isn’t too cluttered. Clutter can create distractions and ruin your productivity.
- Speaking of distractions, make sure you avoid getting distracted by YouTube, Facebook, or other websites. Have a blocking app installed that blocks websites that waste your time, or limits how long you can spend on them.
- Play some instrumental or relaxing music. It can boost your productivity and keep you focused.
- Don’t be afraid to have your dog or cat nearby. Pets can make you more productive when working from home.
- Working from home can mean your schedule is looser, but you should still have a set time to work. Time breaks, when you start work, when you stop, and when you go to bed.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Someone
When dealing with the virus, there are various resources for COVID-19 you can follow, but self-help only goes so far. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to speak to someone, be it a friend, family member, or therapist. Licensed therapists are equipped to help you deal with COVID-19-related anxiety, social isolation, and the stresses of working from home.
However, not everyone has access to therapy (especially during social distancing). This is where online platforms like BetterHelp therapy offer solutions. You may access online therapy from the comfort and safety of your own home. Managing COVID-19 can be difficult, but with the right tools, you can develop healthy ways to work and live from home.
Marie Miguel is a research and writing expert whose work focuses on health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of the online mental health resource BetterHelp.com. With a dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to target subjects related to wellbeing.
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