It’s okay to acknowledge and share your anxiety. “There’s a lot of buzz swirling around and it’s hard not to let it affect us,” says Amy Meztger, MSW, LCSW. “Here are some tips and things to keep in mind to help you stay calm in the storm.”
Practice good hygiene. It’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself and others.
Weed out fact from fiction. Knowledge is power. Go to a reliable source, like the CDC website for information.
Turn off the TV. Take breaks from news overload, which can exacerbate anxiety.
Put things in perspective. We’ve gotten through high-risk situations before like Hurricane Sandy, Ebola and SARS. We are resilient and will get through this together.
Protect against anxiety spread. Try not to let overly anxious people in your life feed into your own anxiety. If you feel yourself getting agitated, step away for a bit and let yourself calm down.
Stay in the moment. When you can’t control your thoughts and your mind hits overload, take 10 minutes to sit down and focus on your breath.
Keep up with self-care. Continue to practice whatever you do to maintain your well-being like eating healthy, getting exercise, sticking to your sleep schedule, and de-stressing. There’s respite in routine.
Seek professional help. If your anxiety is affecting your ability to function—afraid to leave your house, paralyzed by your fears, inability to sleep—don’t hesitate to speak with a mental health professional or call the 24/7 crisis hotline at 732-780-6023.
Surrender to the process. There’s a difference between being prepared and panicking. Because the unknown is frightening, we tend to create scary movies in our head. Don’t indulge it by pulling up a chair with a big bowl of popcorn—change the channel. And remember, everyone is going through the same thing. We’re in this together.