How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health – CNN

Posted: March 16, 2020 at 1:47 am

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But the constant spring of information, precautions and warnings, whether it's straight from the CDC or some recirculated, dubiously-sourced post on Facebook, can take a real toll on your mental health.

A pandemic is a rather abstract villain, so it may help to sit down and really consider what specific threats worry you. Do you think you will catch the coronavirus and die? "The fear of death taps into one of our core existential fears," says Bufka. "But you have to think about what your fear is, and how realistic it is." Consider your personal risk and how likely it is that you will actually come in contact with the virus.

Of course, you could have other, more practical fears. "Some people may worry about what would happen if they were moved into self quarantine, or if they're not able to work. They're wondering if they would have access to groceries or childcare," says Bufka. "Again, people have greater abilities to manage hardships than they think they do. Think about a plan. Consider options if you can't telework. Do you have savings? Do you have support?" Being prepared for your fears will help keep them in scale.

Since action can allay our anxieties, you may want to also consider what you can do to help others who may be more affected by the outbreak than you. Service workers, medical workers, hourly workers and people in the restaurant or entertainment industries may have their livelihoods paralyzed or have to put themselves in disproportionate danger. "It will be important for us as communities to think about how to support these individuals whose lives are going to be disrupted," Bufka says. "How can we even this burden and support those who have less options?"

People are going to talk. But if you want to run to a friend to discuss the latest outbreak cluster or your family's contingency plans, try not to create an echo chamber. "If you are overwhelmed, don't necessarily go to someone who has a similar level of fear," Bufka says. "Seek out someone who is handling it differently, who can check you on your anxiety and provide some advice."

If you can't seem to get a handle on your thoughts, professional help can be an option. "It doesn't need to be a long-term thing," Bufka says. "It means you can get some guidance for this specific situation."

In short, don't get so wrapped up in thinking about the coronavirus that you forget the essential, healthy practices that affect your wellbeing every day. "In times of stress, we tend to minimize the importance of our foundation when we really should be paying more attention to it," Bufka says. Make sure you are:

Practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga or other forms of self care can also help center you in routines and awareness, and keep your mind from wandering into the dark and sometimes irrational unknown.

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How to keep coronavirus fears from affecting your mental health - CNN

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:47 am

Posted in Self-Help