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How can I deal with my fear and anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak?

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During times of uncertainty, stress soars throughout the population. So it’s important for many of us to try to minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19.

Set a curfew on things that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; and pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Sleeping and engaging in healthy activities helps control some of the anxiety and keeps things in perspective. They’re also great immune boosters.

If you are also suffering from insomnia as a result of this stressful situation, ensure you’ve looked at ways to control your sleep environment. Reduce loud noises, address physical discomforts or pain that may be adding to the difficulty in sleep; make sure you’re keeping regular times for going to bed and waking up, avoiding coffee, nicotine and alcohol late in the day or before going to bed. Alcohol disturbs sleep. Speak to your doctor about how insomnia is causing considerable difficulty with you daily functioning, short-term (3–7 days) treatment with benzodiazepines may be an option.

While it’s important to keep up to date with the current situation, the sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Look for information from trusted sources only, and limit it to certain times of the day. Facts can help to minimize fears.

Consider working together with your community. This helps to create solidarity in addressing COVID-19. Social isolation creates more fear. One example is to find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people who have experienced COVID-19.

World Health Organization: Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 15, 2020

World Health Organization: Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 15, 2020

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