With the news of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of us have been worried about our own health, as well as that of our loved ones. Various stories, information, news and the reported effects of the virus have become more alarming with time. Experiencing relatively intense emotions, fear and anxiety during the current pandemic can be overwhelming for some and it is completely normal to feel that way. Coping with these feelings can take a toll on your mental health but we need to fight this #WarAgainstVirus, together!
Steps to stop the social stigma
Being empathetic towards those who have been infected. Protect yourself, be supportive of others and encourage them to get tested if they have the symptoms.
Share news only from credible sources to avoid spreading stigma, for example WHO or UNICEF. Correct misconceptions such as, “you can get infected by eating Chinese food or using Chinese products” or the myth that the virus only affects seniors.
Here are some simple ‘Dos’ & ‘Don’ts’ that will help us get through these times:
-Talk about the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and speak accurately about the risk from COVID-19, based on scientific data and latest official health advice.
-Talk positively and emphasise the effectiveness of prevention and treatment measures. For most people this is a disease they can overcome. You can also read more on how you can talk about Covid-19 more positively here.
-Encourage people to visit therapists to deal with stress and chaos related to the coronavirus pandemic.
-Attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a “Wuhan Virus”, “Chinese Virus” or “Asian Virus”. The official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatisation - the “co” stands for Corona, “vi” for virus and “d” for disease, 19 is because the disease emerged in 2019.
-Repeat or share unconfirmed rumours and avoid using hyperbolic language designed to generate fear like “plague”, “apocalypse” etc.
-There are simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable safe.
-Emphasise or dwell on the negative or messages of threat.
- if you come across someone who’s feeling anxious, tell them that it's normal to feel that way, especially when you can see the stress and anxiety disturbing their daily life.
Remember, facts minimize fear.
Here are a few things that you can try to calm yourself down and manage your stress levels around the Covid-19 outbreak:
- Try talking to some counselors or psychologists about your anxiety, stress and everything that is going on in your mind. They can better equip you in dealing with these feelings effectively.
-Take a walk in your house. It reduces the production of endorphins that produce stress.
-Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. It is important to be informed, but not at the cost of your mental health.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate or do some yoga. Try progressive muscle relaxation or take a warm bath to loosen your muscles followed by focused breath-work.
-Try to eat healthy and well-balanced meals.
- Aromatherapy is a healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote well-being. It can work wonders to make you feel at peace. Here are a few DIYs for aromatherapy that you can try at home
- Write a reflection journal. Creating a journal where you can write down your thoughts can help you get a fresh perspective about the situations you are in.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy. You can watch stand-up comedies or tv-series like 'Friends', 'The Office', 'That 70's Show', and 'The Big Bang Theory'.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
It is completely valid to feel stressed about the coronavirus outbreak, but we need to understand that some things are in our control and some are not. The only thing you can control in this outbreak is to take all the necessary precautions to avoid spreading the virus from your end. The sooner you accept what is in your control and acknowledge what is not, it'll be easier to learn and adapt according to the situation.We have passed through other concerns and we will get past this as well.
If you need a professional to talk about your feelings or anxiety, especially due to the current situation, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation to book your free consultation.
Written by: Mahika Solanki
Edited by: Vrushti Oza
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