By Melodie Veldhuizen
The Covid-19 pandemic has succeeded in putting people worldwide in the same boat. Everybody is experiencing anxiety and fear to some extent. It may differ from one individual to the next, depending on your personality or unique circumstances.
Worry and fear
In the literature and talking to people the following fears and worries are dominant:
– that the pandemic will get out of control and that a cure will not be found in time
– that the period of lockdown will just be extended continually, especially because hundreds of people do not take the situation seriously and do not keep to the lockdown rules at all
– concerns that you or your loved ones will become seriously ill and could die
– that normal medical services will become inaccessible and that one will not be allowed to see your doctor or to be hospitalised for other serious medical conditions
– to be hospitalised due to other non-related diseases or emergency operations and be infected by the virus there and that you will not be allowed to receive visitors because of the lockdown
– if you live alone, to be injured or become so sick that you cannot contact somebody else
– never to see a loved one again. Perhaps you did not have an opportunity to see and say goodbye to your aged parent(s) one last time before the knockdown started ─ what if he or she dies before you see each other again?
– that you are not fit to help your children with home schooling and that because of this they will fail their examinations
– that your student child will fall behind with his or her studies and will not get his or her degree at the end of the year
– economy: Will the company I’m working for keep on doing business after the lockdown? Will I still have a job? Will my own business survive? How are my family and I going to survive financially?
– that eventually there will be no food and other essential provisions in the shops
– that people will begin to riot because of the lockdown and the fact that they will not have access to cigarettes and liquor, which will lead to violence, robbery, burglary, theft and murder
– that you will totally lose control over your own life ─ you already have no control over the spreading of the virus, over other people’s behaviour, over the duration of lockdown and over the country’s economy
– the fear of total isolation and to have no contact of any kind with other people
Handling of fears and worries
Do you feel that your fears and worries are overwhelming you? Did you know that emotions are more contagious than the virus? It has no respect for distance or lockdown. How you feel and react can affect others, positively or negatively. And others can also “infect” you with their negativity or positivity. This is why, especially now, people should handle their fears and worries sensibly. Be aware all the time of what it is that makes jou anxious. Try to avoid the situation or thinking about it, or handle it sensibly.
– Stay informed by consulting reliable sources only.
– Focus on what you really can control. Lessen your and your family’s risk by regularly washing your hands thoroughly, staying home if necessary, avoiding big crowds and always maintaining a safe social distance.
– Plan where possible. Make notes of what worries you and be proactive. Consider other possible solutions without necessarily trying to find the ideal solution; the mere fact that you are already thinking about it (without becoming anxious) will let you feel that you have a measure of control over the situation.
– Take care of your physical, emotional and mental health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep and do not neglect your physical side. Listen to beautiful music, watch a movie that lifts the spirit and read something inspiring, or do anything you enjoy. Listen to spiritual messages on the radio or the internet, or draw spiritual strength from your personal quiet time.
– Maintain your daily routine and retain a measure of reality.
– Spend as much time as possible in nature and get enough sunshine and fresh air.
– Reach out to others who are suffering more than you and forget about your own worries and fears for a while. Offer to do the shopping, regularly send encouraging text messages, or phone sometimes.
– If friends or family begin to panic, encourage them. It will also help to stay positive in spite of your own fears.
– be friendly and empathetic towards everybody who cross your path when you have to face society ─ the petrol attendant, cashier, car watch or chemist, the police officer who has to keep the peace.
– Stay in contact with your friends and family. It is good for your emotional wellbeing and you can make sure that they are in good health.
– When you communicate, avoid negative subjects like the corona virus and its consequences. Laugh, talk about the latest book or movie that you enjoyed, or tell your mother about your toddler’s antics.
– When you feel depressive or anxious, talk about it with somebody you trust. Encourage everybody you care about to do the same.
– Do not allow fear and anxiety to become pandemic too.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/the-courage-suffer/202003/why-are-we-so-afraid-the-covid-19-virus
The Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/coronavirus-the-psychological-impact-and-16-ways-to-keep-a-clear-head-1.4198918
The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/smarter-living/coronavirus-anxiety-tips.html
USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/03/12/coronavirus-fear-psychology-powerlessness-toilet-paper-sanitizer/5010095002/