Coronavirus (COVID-19): 5 ways to manage negative emotions

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is widespread, and negative feelings of fear, anxiety, and worry come along with it. We often hear of important measures to take: stay at home, self-isolate, and practice proper hand-washing techniques, but little is reported about ways to cope with our emotions. Today, I will share five ways to manage despair, decreased financial security, increased health anxiety, loneliness, and worry due to the novel coronavirus disease outbreak.

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1. Take breaks from the media.

With an increasing number of cases and deaths reported by the media, feelings of worry and anxiety can also skyrocket. While it is important to be aware of our circumstances, it is also important to take a step back and do what we can to stay safe both physically and mentally. Urge yourself to disconnect from the media periodically and take the time for yourself and your hobbies. You could read a book, draw a picture, learn an instrument… the list goes on! If you find it difficult to temporarily disconnect from the media, I suggest to download a site blocker extension.

You can download the one I use for free here [link: Chrome web store].

2. Find out about the measures implemented to support you.

People are pessimistic of the future, so markets have plummeted, and most brick and mortar businesses are seeing their sales take a plunge. With this comes a decreased sense of financial security. While it is important to budget accordingly, seek information about what the government is doing to support you.

The Government of Canada plans to reveal a significant stimulus package to support small businesses and families in this turbulent economic period. You can find more about Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement here [link: Global News].

3. Stick to the facts.

A common belief is that there is a shortage of toilet paper in Canada, but this is not true [link: CTV news]. Scenes of frazzled customers stockpiling toilet paper has created an illusion that there’s a shortage of essential supplies, causing other people to run in search of toilet paper too. What you are seeing is the effect of a positive feedback loop (i.e. seeing someone else panic makes others panic, which creates even more panic…).

The World Health Organization addressed other common myths here [link: World Health Organization]. Myths further fuel panic, and dispelling them can decrease worry.

4. Leverage ways for digital connectedness.

You are not alone, and you are not the only one who feels the way that you do. Many people may find calling, FaceTime, Skype, Discord, WhatsApp, and Facebook useful to stay connected with family and friends, while physically keeping a safe distance away. Here’s why (click to be re-directed to the page [link: Washington post]).

5. Know resources if additional support is needed.

A way to combat worry is to plan resources incase additional help is needed. I have compiled some preliminary resources:

(1) For a comprehensive informative guide and travel advisories: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [link: CDC]

(2) Want to talk to someone? Try Kids Help Phone, Vent over Tea, or send me a message [link: Psych2Go.me/ask].

I encourage you to share this post to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of both your body and mind. Please feel free to contribute your ideas on managing emotions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Stay healthy & take care,

Monica Taing

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  1. Oh, wow! I may be very unlucky then… We went to 15 different stores on Sunday (I’m not making up this number!) and could not find a single TP package. We asked day and time they should arrive. Yesterday at noon-ish was the deadline, so my husband went to the nearest Loblaws when TP was supposed to arrive. Although there is a restriction in place of 2 TP packages/person, my husband bought the last 2 packages. They didn’t last one hour in store.

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