How to deal with corona-anxiety

Illustration shows a young woman reading in a chair. She is wearing a blue top and green trousers and there is a charger plugged in behind her

Coronavirus has turned our worlds upside down, leaving lots of people feeling anxious and confused. If you’ve been feeling topsy-turvy, this is very normal. The key is to remember, this will not last, you are not alone, and there’s lots you can do to support your mental health during the crisis.

The news is making me feel weird

Is it just us or does it feel like every TV programme, radio show and social media post, is about Corona, Corona, Corona right now? This constant exposure to news reports, statistics and even fake news stories designed to freak us out, makes it hard to escape corona-anxiety.

While it’s important to keep up to date with developments in order to stay safe, your brain might appreciate a little break.

Some things to try:

Try limiting your news intake to once a day

For example, try just listening to the headlines or to the Prime Minister’s daily update before turning over to something less corona-y. Turn news notifications off your phone.

Don’t believe everything you hear

Fake news designed to scare you is doing the rounds on social media, so make sure you get your news for reputable sources, like the BBC.

Take a break from social media

Or if that’s not possible, try curating your feed by only following accounts posting supportive content. You can also try muting WhatsApp groups if you find them anxiety-inducing.

Focus on the good stuff

It might be hard to believe, but there’s lots of good stuff going on in the world right now. Keep an eye on stories like the one about the 95-year-old woman in Italy who recently recovered from the virus. Or about the positive effect the pandemic is having on the environment.

Self-isolation is sending me loopy

Staying home is the most important and effective thing you can do to help overcome corona. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t feel natural to practice social distancing with our mates and home can begin to feel claustrophobic, especially if you have a difficult relationship with your family or housemates.

A few tips for staying sane at home:

Prioritise self-care

Things as simple as making your bed and making sure you get dressed in the morning can help to make you feel nicer. Why not treat yourself to a NOW TV account? Commit to doing exercise videos, guided meditations and eating healthily? Indulge in a spa bath (basically, dim the lights and light some candles)?

Exercise

Keep an eye on developments. but for now, it is safe to leave the house once a day for exercise if you’re feeling well. Really make the most of this by getting out for a decent walk, run or cycle every day – exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.

Try viewing this as an opportunity

This probably isn’t the opportunity you had in mind, but think about how you can use this time away from life’s usual priorities, to start something new. How about honing your cookery/gardening/ crafting skills? Could you use this time to start a business or new project? By focusing on something you’re interested in, it should distract you from constant Corona shenanigans.

Talk to people

While we’re not allowed to meet up with mates, we can still keep in touch. Thank god for the internet! Make sure to check in with friends and family by video calling, try hosting a virtual party using House Party, seek out online exercise classes via Zoom and look out for virtual pub quizzes.

Help others

Being kind can have an amazing impact on our own mental health. Could you set up a WhatsApp group for your street or building, offering to pick things up from the shops for those who are self-isolating? Could you set up a sunflower growing competition on your street? Or send a friend in need a playlist designed to cheer them up?

I’m still so anxious about everything

We hear you. These are uncertain times and uncertainty is a massive driver for anxiety. If the anxiety is becoming overwhelming, it’s important you speak to someone about it.

Some things to consider:

Tell your GP how you’re feeling

A chat on the phone could be just what you need to reassure you. They will also be able to talk you through any further options.

Telephone counselling

Whether it’s private or through the NHS, counselling can be extremely effective in combating anxiety. You can also call The Mix or Childline to hear a friendly voice and some useful advice.

Try talking to others

It is more than likely that some of your friends or family are feeling the same way. Opening up about your worries can make a huge difference to how you’re feeling.

Finally, keep reminding yourself that this will pass

Experts around the world are working non-stop on treatments and strategies to keep everyone safe.

Next Steps

  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • AnxietyUK run helplines, email support, live chats and therapy services for people with anxiety disorders. 08444 775 774
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • OCD Action run an online community where you can chat to other people with OCD as well as a phone line 0845 390 6232.
  • Visit bemindful for more information on mindfulness and to search for a course near you.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Olivia Capadose

Updated on 25-Mar-2020