There’s a lot of stress and anxiety around coronavirus and this can have a big impact on mental health.
If you already struggle with stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, you may be feeling overwhelmed and extremely scared.
There’s a lot we don’t yet know about coronavirus and this fear of the unknown can be paralysing if you already have anxiety. This can lead to total isolation, especially if you’re incredibly anxious, which can further damage your mental health.
And if you have OCD, the advice around handwashing can lead to excessive compulsions around hygiene.
How Coronavirus Can Impact Anxiety
The fear of coronavirus can encourage a more general sense of anxiety.
Your worries may extend far beyond coronavirus and can include anxiety about lots of different things at the same time.
You may experience a feeling of dread and unease about life, which can involve many aspects of day-to-day life. This can trigger physical symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness, insomnia and heart palpitations.
Health Anxiety and Coronavirus
The threat of coronavirus can feel very real, even if you don’t have underlying health problems. This can lead to health anxiety and other anxiety disorders.
A few signs you may have health anxiety:
- You’re constantly checking yourself for signs of coronavirus, even if you don’t feel ill
- You’re worried you might have coronavirus, even without symptoms or having been in contact with a confirmed case of the virus
- You’re frequently searching online for information about coronavirus despite the anxiety it brings
- Your anxiety about coronavirus is affecting your quality of life
These signs can also relate to family members, as well as your own health.
How to Support Your Mental Health
A few steps you can take to manage health anxiety around coronavirus can include:
- Pretending you’re not feeling anxious can be counterproductive.
- Acknowledge your fears. Talk about them to someone sympathetic — preferably a friend or family member who isn’t struggling with health anxiety.
- Not checking for updates or reading a lot of information about coronavirus. This will exaggerate your fears and create more stress and anxiety. It’s hard to avoid seeing anything about coronavirus but not actively seeking out information can help to manage fears and anxiety.
- When you do see updates about coronavirus, make sure they’re from trusted sources. There’s a lot of misinformation and scaremongering, which can fuel anxiety.
- If your anxiety is becoming overwhelming, think about having a break from social media.
- Don’t go overboard with panic buying but make sure you know what you’d need to stock up on in the home in case you need to self-isolate. This can help you regain some degree of control if you’re affected by coronavirus.
- Try to keep yourself as healthy as possible — a healthy diet, staying active, getting plenty of sleep and prioritising self-care can all help with this.
- Practice anti-anxiety techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety.
- If you have OCD, is your handwashing in line with hygiene guidelines or are you washing your hands excessively as a way to feel more in control of the uncertainty?
- Check in with family and friends regularly — by Skype or Facetime if necessary - so you can still feel connected even if you’re self-isolating (or if they are)
- Get help and support if you feel that your mental health is getting worse. You can contact the Anxiety UK helpline on 03444 775 774 and the Mind helpline on 0300 123 3393. Health professionals can also help.
Online Hypnotherapy Sessions to Support Your Mental Health
Chronic stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing, and it can impact your immunity.
Taking steps to address your mental health is really important, both from an emotional and physical perspective.
If you feel you need some extra support to cope with coronavirus anxiety, I’m here to help.
For anyone who is self-isolating or feeling a lot of anxiety when they’re away from home, online hypnotherapy sessions can help to reduce stress and give you coping tools.
Because it allows access to the subconscious mind, hypnotherapy can be a very effective intervention for anxiety. This includes changing unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaviour so you can feel more in control of your reaction to coronavirus.