Perspective is an important thing to consider when dealing with anxiety-provoking situations. You know this from your sessions with your therapist. Please remember this as you consider your response to Covid-19.

Don’t let emotions outweigh logic in your everyday choices surrounding the coronavirus. Whether it’s fighting someone in the grocery store for toilet paper, or taking to Facebook to encourage family and friends to panic, resist. Please.

Instead, consider, for example, what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), among others, encourage the population to do at this time: Stay calm in understanding the actual risks of Covid-19.

If you are seeing a mental health professional, now is NOT the time to take a break. Maintain continuity of care. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

Use Rationality in Times Like This

The immediate risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is low, according to the CDC. Of course, older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease, are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. But this is true of any such disease.

Avoid too much exposure to news, as well. “Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories,” the NIH said. “It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.”

At the same time, stay informed. But get your updates from officials—not from social media. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media, said the CDC. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.

For instance, as of mid-March, WHO reported 182,204 cases of Covid-19. Of this figure, 7,139 people have died. But 78,340 have made a full recovery.

Of course, these numbers will change—perhaps even drastically. But this could be unlikely with the extensive measures being taken by our government and other governmental bodies around the globe.

Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.

Accept How You Feel, But . . .

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, according to the CDC. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community in which you live.

“It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during situations like this,” said the CDC. “Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.”

From a practical standpoint, implement the following recommendations from JHM:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or flexed elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • void close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch.
  • Only wear a face mask if you have respiratory symptoms or are caring for someone with respiratory symptoms.

A word to people with preexisting mental health conditions: Continue with your treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms.

If you are seeing a mental health professional, now is NOT the time to take a break. Maintain continuity of care. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

If you are seeing a mental health professional, now is NOT the time to take a break. Maintain continuity of care. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

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