Coronavirus: how to cope with anxiety and self-isolation


It comes in waves actually, that’s what I
seem to have found with people, it’s like, but something triggers it and you really
feel quite anxious. Then other times, when you’re distracted or you get a sense of perspective, it sort of calms down, but it’s quite difficult to tell when you’re
gonna get the next surge of that. Recognise that each day we’re probably
going to have to change our behaviours in a slightly different way from the day
before. The reason for those changes is
further information, further knowledge and the more knowledge we have,
the quicker we’re going to get through this thing … almost sort of see that as a positive, see that as moving
forward, that we’re going somewhere, that it’s going to conclude.
This is going to end. So if you health anxiety already and that
basically means that for every little symptom you get, you blow into something
else or you think it’s something more severe, or you’re constantly Googling your
symptoms – it’s very easy to go to Dr Google. The symptoms of coronavirus are
actually quite similar to anxiety in some ways, I think that’s
worth bearing in mind. It’s difficult to catch your breath,
you feel like your chest is tightening you get those sort of pulsating
waves through you. That’s what happens when
you’re overanxious. Our cortisol levels, so that’s our stress
hormone, is on high all the time. We’re overdosing on cortisol and that
makes us feel jittery and edgy and actually makes us feel more anxious,
so let’s, perhaps, some of the ways you can step down your cortisol, discourage
it from overwhelming you. Firstly, what we call a ‘worry window’. So, yeah, we’re all tempted to go
and look at everything on social media, get as much information as
possible because information is power, the more we know about it the more we
feel in control. However, lots of stuff that’s going out
on social media is inaccurate or it’s speculation or it’s opinion,
so give yourself a window of maybe an hour a day or half an hour at the
beginning, half an hour at the end of the day. Things change fast. Look at something when you know it has gone
through a filtering process, it’s not just somebody’s opinion, it’s based on something
you know that has more substance. Secondly, I mean, the things
that we feel guilty about doing like watching distracting telly box sets,
films, I mean if you are at home do it. This is the one time in our lives where
you can … this is not a guilty pleasure anymore, it’s just a pleasure.
We need to distract ourselves. Even having a clear out, you know, the cupboards that you haven’t done that you meant to do … it’s all about distracting yourself
and then absorbing, so you go from distraction to absorbing yourself into
something so that actually you find yourself: “I haven’t thought about
it for the last half an hour”. When you’ve got funny little
symptoms that you just don’t know, and they’re going to internalise
and make you feel more anxious, tell a friend or tell a family member
because everyone is having something that doesn’t feel right, that’s what
a nationwide or a global anxiety does for people. We’re all having
anything from sort of feeling like we can’t quite catch our breath, to feeling
like itchy at times, to feeling that we, you know, our hearts are palpitating or
that we’re sort of starting to sweat. There are so many signs of anxiety. 99% of the time they will not be signs
of coronavirus but they will be your body going into overdrive,
the fight or flight syndrome. I know it sounds boring but going
to bed at a regular time, exercise is really important, not drinking too much,
these are all ways of containing the hormones adrenaline and cortisol that are
threatening to envelop us. My advice for anybody that feels that it
really is painful in self isolation is to reach out, I mean there’s a lot of things
going on there’s a lot of neighbor groups, there’s Whatsapp groups, there’s
various things going on where people are learning to support each other either in
a practical way or in an emotional way. And you can do something else for
someone else, usually there’s a kind of I don’t know, a generosity of spirit swap, if
you like, so if someone can go into your shopping, you can do something else for
them. Maybe you can have a conversation about how you can get somebody online. It would be great to teach somebody, very
simply, how they can communicate by video call or join a social media app like Facebook, so that they can connect with others. Sharing something is one significant
way of reducing anxiety. So where we are at the moment with
changes happening fairly constantly, I think, and I’m feeling the anxiety too …
I’m a psychologist, I’m the one giving the advice, but actually I’m going
through, we’re all in this together, and I’m feeling as anxious as anybody. I think what I do recognise in people, and
what you may be surprised to find in yourself, is a reserve of resilience, and each
day that something different happens and our behaviours have to change,
that resilience gets stronger so that develops our coping mechanisms. We’re never going to look forward to it as a
challenge but we are gonna go into the next day knowing that we’re able to cope, and that’s the really important
take away for the moment.

41 Comments

  1. Stay at home and avoid social media.

  2. Read the Book of Revelation since you have time on your hands. There’s a blessing attached.

  3. {GODISGOOD360°karenGManiwala}

  4. Tik Tok

  5. Count the sheeps

  6. Amateurs

  7. Welcome to black mans world!

  8. Pray to Gaia and always listen to the great Greta. May you all stay safe and never give in to this patriarchal virus.

  9. Her fringe is irritating me

  10. Tidy the house, or watch films and play Xbox all day. Seems like the easiest call I've ever had to make.

  11. Really?

  12. I just need ps4 and my game mates

  13. When she said anxiety feels the same as Corona symptoms, I stopped watching. Why is she increasing fear?

  14. I was going to share this and then I remembered who Jo Hemmings is: the underqualified quack who wrote an article for the Daily Mail "analysing" Prince Harry and his relationship to Meghan Markle. It was an un professional and venomous hit piece that made hundreds of therapists protest. I can't imagine why The Guardian would go to her for advice about anything.

  15. She looks like Ghislaine Maxwell

  16. lol

  17. Personally, my life after the virus outbreak is nearly identical to my life before it. I do the same things: spend most of my time on my computer and phone and perhaps read a book. I don't go out, I don't have any friends. I believe I'm not alone when I say this

  18. mental health agenda programming

  19. Just drink beer

  20. عيلاج فايروس كورونا 🥃كلاص كاز ب اثني الله

  21. Mass Suicide best way boomers and the master of boomers

  22. Just rest assured all Bill's including council tax and utilities, is covered by ponson and the Brill cream boy.

  23. LMAO, so fragile.

  24. Anybody who feels like they’re constantly stressed out should do everything they can to release oxytocin into their bodies. You can buy a nasal spray for it, but just hugging a loved one, snuggling with a pet (or three!), or being intimate with a partner will do it. Just don’t do that with people you aren’t already living with, and be safe about it, obviously. Oxytocin is basically the anti-cortisol, and plays a major role in bonding.

  25. This Daily Mail "celebrity psychologist" is giving us all more anxiety with her annoying voice and weird twitching. @Guardian, WTF is wrong with you, why would you feature her?

  26. I have found taking zinc and vitamin D is helping, as is inhaling eucalyptus vapours, at least for the very bad cold making the rounds in Bristol UK that is not coronavirus 19 but it is certainly debilitating. You will need to google the sources but they are there on the internet through google.

  27. We actually just did an article about how the corona-virus is affecting your mental health, which it can make you feel more anxious than before, but take in mind this is something we can't control we must just find a way to cope and get through it. If you need someone to speak to try talking to our Chat Advisers at @t

  28. Ipad, headphones and youtube guided meditation smashes anxiety.

  29. If 'war time', why has WAR TIME PRODUCTION not been introduced?
    Night shift for supplies of food/water/bog roles/etc. so that people CAN self-isolate?
    Reopen shut down plants with government funding?
    This will CREATE JOBS for the laid off.

  30. Took advice – I don't have Netflix or box set so I pulled the old video box out, now watching Stephen King's the Stand

  31. Pah, In China with 9 weeks isolation so far, it is a doddle; returning to society again – that will be like trying to coax a fish from water.

  32. i get anxiety i have mental health i cant sleep i lose concentration i want to snap and scream so pls when can this stop is the worry worst than the condiction

  33. for thoose it doesnt kill is it best to get it over with

  34. fight or flight ive done cbt on that

  35. Simmer down. I'm detoxing from meth, opiates and booze. I am broke with no job or insurance. I have it worse.

  36. if i dont go to school, i dont really have a lot of distractions, so is getting harder and harder to just spend time with myself. and knowing that it will be like that for probably three months more makes me even more anxious.

  37. Love how the same media that has grown the anxiety is now trying to tell you how cope with it 😂😂😂

  38. Use this time of social distancing for deep contemplation, switch off the tv {if you still have one}, and study the extent of global deceit in which we're all being controlled and manipulated.

  39. im still struggling to sleep i feel as anxious as helen keller i hope this stops soon then i can shop like mad

  40. The biggest anxiety most people seem to have is whether they will still be able to wipe their asses.

  41. No need to worry people.
    CHINAVIRUS will kill you.

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