Still feeling stressed about the coronavirus outbreak? Unfortunately, the very act of attempting to become more informed about COVID-19 and its effects can cause its own distress. In fact, the American Psychological Association, or APA, maintains that constant media exposure regarding COVID-19 can cause acute stress and contribute to any existing psychological issues like chronic anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
The resulting stress can also cause new issues and exacerbate existing health problems. And, of course, this can affect our children as well if they see us worried or if they take in too much of the daily news as well.
What Can You Do About It?
Experts suggest taking small, manageable steps to keep a sense of calm through the coronavirus outbreak.
Stay Informed Regarding Positive Developments
As researchers continue to work day and night to develop a vaccine and other treatments for COVID-19, filter your news consumption to critical updates and positive developments. For example, staying vigilant for information about how cell based assays are used in vaccine development provides you with real-time, positive information without all the media hype.
Moderate Your News Consumption
While remaining informed is key, you need not watch every bit of news or read every article on the topic. Instead, cut your media consumption to watching the first 10-15 minutes of a news program. In most cases, this is when the most important updates are featured.
Take Care Of Your Family’s Health
In addition to infection prevention and proper hygiene, the CDC recommends staying vigilant regarding other aspects our our health. Keep a healthy diet, maintain your daily exercise routine, and avoid alcohol and drugs. Perhaps, most importantly, be sure to get plenty of sleep.
Engage In Relaxing Activities
While relaxing may be easier said than done, start by addressing your immediate symptoms of stress by taking deep breaths or meditating when you feel tense. In addition, make an effort to engage in activities you enjoy as much as possible like painting, practicing yoga, or going for a hike.
How Can You Help Your Children?
While the most important step you can take to prevent your children from becoming nervous about COVID-19 is to keep your own anxiety levels in check, consider these steps for addressing child anxiety.
Build a Routine
Children thrive on routine. While you may not be leaving the house for the time being, try to keep a consistent schedule in place so that your children know what to expect next. This can help reduce any fears they may have and lessen anxiety levels.
Get creative with activities and make sure your children get plenty of exercise along with you. Adding some fun activities unique to this strange lockdown period can help your children look back on this experience as an enjoyable time, rather than a time they were afraid.
Give your children a close network of people that they can count on to calm them down and provide support. Offer children an outlet to discuss any fears within your home as well as with family and friends through technological methods such as FaceTime and Zoom.
Teach Them How To Stay Healthy
Although most of the country is currently practicing social distancing, you are still working hard to keep your family healthy while at home. Stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine for the entire family and promote proper handwashing techniques by washing regularly with soap and warm water.
During this uncertain time consisting of social distancing and lockdown, many of us crave a way to regain a sense of control. By utilizing the above steps to address your level of knowledge regarding COVID-19 and preventing undue stress, you will find that you can achieve that goal within your own home. Moving forward, you and your family can continue to manage the potentially bumpy road ahead together as a team.
How are you keeping your family calm during this challenging time?