Coronavirus news is everywhere. How can you manage anxiety right now?

Coronavirus news is everywhere. How can you manage anxiety right now?

You can turn off the TV, put your phone down and step away from social media, but chances are, you’re still worrying about coronavirus.

That’s because in a time of such uncertainty and what feels like minute-by-minute updates, it can seem impossible to cope. When will it end?

Without knowing the answer to that question, things may feel bleak. And whether or not you were an anxious person before the empty toilet paper shelves and barrage of news stories, you might be feeling it now.

“It’s difficult to say if long-term anxiety can develop from exposure to constant coverage of the coronavirus. However, people who have a history of anxiety, especially related to obsessive compulsive disorder with regards to germs, are more susceptible,” says Dr. Munther Barakat, director of behavioral health therapy at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital in Wauwatosa, WI.

So how can you manage anxiety at a time like this?

“Limit your consumption of coronavirus coverage to essential information distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization,” he urges. “Information from these sources are based on facts. They are not in the business of ratings.”

You can find a collection of those sources here.

So instead of being glued to CNN while incessantly scrolling through Facebook, what can you do?

“You can still take walks. You can reengage in hobbies you’ve neglected due to your busy life, such as painting. You can reorganize your home,” Dr. Barakat says.

And speaking of reorganizing your home, have you found yourself clearing extra space in your linen closet for toilet paper? Or are you asking yourself why people have been acting this way?

“These hoarding behaviors are often triggered by misinformation and visuals of others hoarding, ” says Dr. Barakat. “This is difficult to resist considering the sense of urgency of the situation. Take a realistic look at what you need and buy accordingly. This is difficult to do, and that’s understandable, considering the situation being so fluid.”

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One Comment

  1. I would like more information to help determine which medical appointments to keep and cancel. How is urgency, given exposure risks, best determined?

    Thank you

About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.