Are you reading and checking every single news update on coronavirus and all the illness it’s causing? Thinking of locking your front door and not re-emerging until all this is over? Feeling worried about loved ones?
While being cautious is definitely a well-founded reaction to the current situation, developing anxiety over coronavirus is not. Here’s what you can do to overcome this anxiety and keep your mental health in control.
Remind yourself of the statistics
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that most coronavirus patients recover. In the Netherlands the mortality rate is just over 2.5% — that means 97.5% of patients recover.
Furthermore, it’s likely that the recovery rate is even higher because a number of patients have such mild symptoms that they are not tested. Additionally, this virus appears to be relatively rare and mild in children – so heave a breath of relief for that.
Be aware, but not suspicious
Remember if someone is coughing doesn’t mean they are suffering from coronavirus. The disease appearing in the Netherlands doesn’t mean that common colds have disappeared.
RIVM advises that coronavirus has the symptoms of a cold. Everyone should be self-isolating anyway, but just because you have these symptoms doesn’t mean you’re infected. Continue to stay at home, keep your distance from others, and let the illness run its course.
At this stage, you don’t even need to call a GP unless your fever is higher than 38 degrees Celsius, or you are coughing or having difficulty breathing.
Stay informed, but limit your news consumption
Staying informed of the situation is necessary, so read numbers and check which areas are most affected. But set boundaries and limit how often you tune in. Do not click and read everything you see with the word coronavirus. And make sure you are checking only reliable sources like the ones below, so you’re not seeing sensationalised news.
- Netherlands National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
Stress can make you more susceptible to illness
And let’s face it, it’s not fun either. Keep reminding yourself that you are fully prepared to help yourself and your family members in the worst situation. Try to take deep breaths and relax, or use distraction techniques to keep coronavirus off your mind. Remember, there’s no correlation between how worried you are and how at-risk you are.
How to de-stress in the face of coronavirus
- Practice yoga or any physical exercise at home. Simple body stretching exercises can help you to relax your muscles.
- Try meditation or breathing exercises. Meditation is said to be the best exercise for when you need to simply shut down your thoughts.
- Live in the present — try not to overthink anything. Instead, look at the beautiful plant or listen to your favorite song with full concentration.
- Do your hobby, or find time to do something that you love to do. It could be reading a book, gardening, painting, playing music, etc.
- Connect with family and friends over text, call, and video chats. Reinforce connections and stay in touch.
Channel your worries into three actionable goals
Wash your hands with soap and water often. Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Never touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands. Follow no-touch greetings, like waving instead of shaking hands, to avoid sharing germs.
Protecting your loved ones and others
Do sneeze or cough into your elbows to reduce the spread of germs. Clean your house regularly and try to sanitize surfaces as much as possible.
Protecting your community
Avoid traveling or visiting crowded places whether you’re sick or healthy. Practice self-isolation and only go out where absolutely necessary, like for grocery-shopping. If you have any symptoms, don’t go out at all — ask others for help instead. Do not spread misinformation.
If you do have symptoms, call your GP and follow their advice. Do not go to the doctor’s office unless you have been advised by your GP. This reduces the risk of you contaminating others, including healthcare professionals.
Let us take the initiative to give awesome ideas to people around the world to stay happy. Post your pictures dealing with your worries and anxieties to spread awareness #saynotocoronaworry. Positive mental composure boosts immunity, and that helps.
Have you been experiencing anxiety around coronavirus in the Netherlands? What techniques have helped you? Tell us in the comments below!
This article also appeared on DutchReview