Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. - Viktor E. Frankl

The outbreak of Novel Coronavirus has left all baffled and confounded about its true nature and spread. It has been almost three months, the world battling this new virus and we have been left wondering what’s next? Some are optimistic that it will disappear as fast as it came (which we all pray for). While others are finding themselves in a lurch, struggling with the fear of unknown, an automatic response of which is Anxiety. However, anxiety is just a response to the situation and not a solution in itself. In fact, it will hamper your ability to take rationale decisions during such testing times, leading to a lot of stress, which has a direct role to play in your immunity and should be avoided at all costs.

The answer lies in being calm and practical and manage your worries and thoughts so that you don’t enter an anxious state leading to uncalled-for implications on your mental and physical health.

Here are 7 Tips to Deal with Coronavirus Anxiety:

1.  ASSESS YOUR RISK LEVEL: The first and foremost thing to do is assess your risk level. This could be gauged by if you have a recent international travel history, a national travel history or your daily interactions. If you have a recent international travel history especially to places with higher outbreak, then the risk is higher both for you and others. The transmission starts with the imported cases which then leads to local transmission. If this is the case, the best thing to do is get yourself checked for symptoms such as fever and cough. If you have some symptoms, without hesitation call the doctor (Yes! First call not a direct a precaution) and then based on the advice get yourself tested. However, if you don’t have such symptoms, then take the next line of double precaution and isolate yourself from your friends and family for a period of fourteen days (the wisest thing to do for self and others).

Local transmission happens through travelling within the country or through infected people you come across. The good thing to do here is social distancing and the best is to stay indoors.  Whatever the local risk level, if you don’t have any symptoms, stay indoors and if you develop symptoms, isolate yourself immediately and consult a doctor. Assess the risk level, act practically not emotionally and leave no room for anxiety.

     2.  DO NOT PANIC: At all times, do not panic. Try to respond to the situation and not react. Responding means practically assessing the situation and then acting, whereas reacting means just believing any information you come across and acting impulsively. Almost nothing can be achieved through panic. Instead Plan… plan your practical strategy. This can encompass having sufficient groceries, medicines and other essentials so that there is not much of outdoor movement. Chalk out a plan, the activities you would do when indoor and how you would like to keep yourself busy during social distancing. Plan not Panic.

     3.  DO NOT BELIEVE IN INFORMATION WITHOUT PROPER EVALUATION: Yes, there is a lot circulating but not all of it is factual. Only consult the reliable sources for reliable information on Coronavirus. Additionally, using social media cautiously can help. That ways you are not being influenced by anything and everything. Keep your sources for factual information limited and reliable. For latest updates on COVID-19, please visit World Health Organization

     4.  HYGIENE: COVID-19 is said to spread from droplets from an infected person and is transmitted through shaking hands, touching infected surfaces or droplets landing on your nose, mouth or eyes when the infected person sneezes. To curb transmission, hygiene will play a major role. Some steps to ensure transmission through Hygiene are:

·       Wash your hands regularly with soap (at least for 20 seconds)

·       Sanitize surfaces that you commonly use

·       Avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily

·       Avoid touching your face with your hands

·       Avoid coughing or sneezing openly

·       Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow to sneeze

·       If using tissues, ensure their proper disposal in the trash

·       Do not shake hands or hug

·       Avoid being around people who may be sick

·       Avoid public places if you are feeling sick

     5.  LIMIT SOCIAL GATHERINGS: Unusual times call for unusual measures and limiting social contact is one of them. COVID-19 is said to transmit from person to person and its further transmission can be checked by breaking the social chain. If you feel like talking to friends and family, well! Count on the blessing of technology (come to think of the times when it didn’t exist and you were isolated). Again, precaution is better than cure and you would be doing a great favour onto yourself, the community (and mankind) by limiting your social life for the time being.

     6.  LET NOT FEAR THRIVE: Fear and panic won’t take the pandemic away. Instead, they act like an amplifier, making your mind and body a victim of unknown, causing you to sacrifice your peace of mind and well-being to something that is a possibility but not a certainty. Let not fear, panic or worry take over you or your friends and family. What is required is a proper planning and response, as mentioned above and not fear.

     7.  TALK TO AN ONLINE PSYCHOLOGIST: In case it becomes difficult for you to manage your anxiety and you are looking for help, talk to an online counsellor or psychologist. This is a safe way as there is no physical contact involved and can be done right from the comfort of your home.

Remember, Anxiety, Fear or Panic will not help in alleviating the situation and on the contrary can make you more vulnerable by compromising your immune system. So make it a priority to address it and movies, sing songs, paint, cook or simply rest but do not panic!

Here are some more Ways to Cope with Anxiety in general.