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Coronavirus: how to protect your psyche in a pandemic

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Emma russell

For a long time, because of the coronavirus epidemic, uncertainty reigns in the world, the news about the consequences of this scourge seems endless. The current situation cannot but affect the mental state of people, especially those who suffer from various mental disorders. How to protect your psyche?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a number of recommendations that are very well received by experts and users of social networks.

Nicky Lidberg of AnxietyUK, a British association that helps people with anxiety attacks, explains that fear of losing control of the situation and not cope with it is the main cause of a number of mental disorders and, in particular, anxiety.

“Anxiety begins when a person does not know what to expect, worries about the future and thinks that something is about to happen. It is these feelings that the situation with the coronavirus gives rise to,” agrees Rosy Weatherly of the charity Mind.

According to experts, people who have long been suffering from mental disorders need additional help these days, but absolutely everyone should take care of their condition.

Read less news and choose sources carefully.

The flow of news about coronavirus exacerbated the condition of Nick, the father of two children from Kent, who has long struggled with anxiety. Recently, Nick has been suffering from increased panic attacks.

“When anxiety flashes over me, my thoughts get out of control, and I begin to think that disaster is coming,” says Nick. He is very worried about his parents and other older family members who are at high risk.

“Usually, when I start to feel bad, I abstract from the situation that is causing this, but now I have nothing to control,” Nick explains.

He helps for a long time not to read news on the Internet and in social networks. He also believes that the assistance that AnxietyUK provides to people in his situation is effective.

  • Limit the time you spend reading and viewing information that does not affect you positively. Check the news only at specific times.
  • Given the large number of fakes in the media space, get information only from trusted sources, such as government sites and national health sites.

Take a break from social networks and block everything that makes you worry

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Emma russell

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It is very important to spend time away from news, the Internet and social networks

Alison from Manchester 24 years old. She is worried about her health and is sure that she should check the news all the time and learn as much as possible about the coronavirus. But at the same time, she knows that social networks can sow panic.

“A month ago, I was looking for information on hashtags and saw how much unverified garbage there was on the network. I began to worry, felt completely hopeless and cried,” Alison shares.

Now she is more selective in the choice of sources and no longer reads anything under the hashtags associated with the coronavirus. Alison temporarily abandoned social networks and TV and instead reads books.

Turn off notifications for keywords that will lead you into the thick of the discussion, block or unsubscribe from accounts that impose an unwanted topic on you.

Block groups on WhatsApp, Facebook posts, and any other sources that make you worried.

Wash your hands, but don’t be too zealous

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Emma russell

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For many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, continued use of hygiene products is one of the symptoms of the disease.

Repeated recommendations may be another trigger for exacerbating the condition in people with mental disorders. For example, in a coronavirus pandemic, this is a recommendation to wash your hands.

It is especially difficult for anxious sufferers to constantly hear this advice, it makes them worry.

For Lily Bailey, the author of the book “Because we are bad” – about life with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a constant fear of contracting something and pathological observance of cleanliness became the cause of mental disorder.

According to her, constantly repeating advice to wash hands can cause a relapse in those who more or less coped with their deviations.

“This is very difficult, because now I have to do what I have avoided for a long time. I strictly follow the advice, but it’s difficult for me, given that for me soap and disinfectants are akin to addiction,” says Bailey.

According to her, for many people with OCD, freedom of movement, the ability to leave home is a very important condition for improving the condition, and self-isolation is another difficult test.

Chat with people

The number of people who find themselves in isolation will only grow, so check that you have correctly written down the phone numbers and email addresses of people close to you.

“Settle a time when you’ll be in control of each other’s well-being every day and keep in touch with others,” advises Rosie Weatherly of the Mind charity.

If you find yourself in isolation, follow your usual routine, but try to make things different every day.

Do things that your hands didn’t reach, read a book that your hands didn’t reach. As a result, two weeks in isolation can be quite productive.

Avoid nervous exhaustion

We can expect another weeks or even months of a pandemic, and, according to experts from the organization Mind, it is very important to get out into the nature and get as much sunlight as possible.

Go in for sports, eat well and drink enough water, experts say.

AnxietyUK gives the following recommendations:

  • Try to recognize uncertainty and anxiety as soon as they creep into your thoughts
  • Do nothing, do not fuss. Stop and make a deep entrance
  • Try to convince yourself that the thoughts and feelings that have visited you are temporary. Your assessment of the situation is subjective. Tell yourself that anxiety will pass soon, do not let your condition develop
  • Focus on the moment, because right now, at this very minute, everything is fine
  • Concentrate on what you see, what you hear, what smells you feel. Then return your thoughts to what you were doing until the moment the alarm crept in you, and continue your lesson

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