How to manage anxiety around COVID-19

Posted by COPE on 19th March 2020

As the coronavirus continues to spread, pregnant and breastfeeding women hare being advised by experts to take precautions. If you’re feeling anxious and worried about your own health and that of your family, you’re not alone.  It’s understandable to be concerned in such uncertain times.

One thing we know about anxiety is that we can reduce it by being proactive. This can help our brains feel prepared and more at ease. We also know that keeping our thoughts in check with facts and limiting the amount of exposure to sensationalising media is helpful to calm anxious minds. 

COPE’s tips for managing anxiety around COVID-19:

  • Reduce social media time
    It can be helpful to feel connected and to connect to others, particularly if you are self-isolating. If, however, you are noticing that the panic and constant reference to the fear and worry of others is increasing your own anxiety or worry, then it’s time to cut it back!
  • Stay active
    Nature is a great grounding tool and getting some fresh air can be energising. If you’re staying inside, take a look at the vast array of yoga, pilates, or other exercise videos available online.
  • Think about what you find relaxing and calming, and what your partner and children find relaxing and calming
    An anxious and worried mind needs rest and time out, so make some plans for activities that provide this. Listen to your favourite music, do some gardening, make mud pies with your kids, take a bath or switch off from social media and grab a book.
  • Breathe!
    Breathing is so simple, so effective, and so under-rated! A calm breath regulates the brain and the body, while anxiety does the opposite. Be conscious of your breath and play around with some ideas to support this – different techniques work for different people so find the one that works for you.
  • Create a list of all the things you have wished you had time for but always found life too busy
    Like the photo album you’ve been meaning to create, or spring cleaning the pantry. On the other hand, if the last thing you feel like doing is being productive – that’s OK too. 
  • Make sure you have a back-up plan in place in the event you or your partner contract the coronavirus after you give birth
    Who would you choose to either take care of, or assist you in taking care of your baby? With elderly people more vulnerable to the virus, this may not be your parents, so have a think about an appropriate substitute and ensure they are fully immunised).
  • Keep your (and your baby) healthcare records in hand
    So you have your information available and easy to access.
  • Be prepared that schools and day care centres may close
    Who is going to help you juggle this and what supports do you need?
  • Practice good hygiene
    You don’t need to be housebound, just follow the advice on hygiene and interpersonal contact precautions
  • Prepare some meals
    Or have someone cook double of what they are making for their family, so that you know you have food on standby.

Above all, take care of yourself. We are here with you,

The team from COPE

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