I think you would literally have to be living a bubble to not be in the know about the recent Coronavirus outbreak – Covid-19. I feel I am eating, sleeping and breathing Coronavirus. I go to the gym and my and the guy I train with chew the fat over it. My WhatsApp groups are buzzing with speculation about what will happen and I think the unknown is completely throwing everyone. People I don’t expect to be stressed are very stressed. The unknown can make everything really scary and for some people who have anxiety and in particular coping with health anxiety and Coronavirus can be tough.
Health Anxiety and Me
Someone asked me at the beginning of the week how I was managing with my health anxiety and the coronavirus outbreak.
You may have read when I have candidly spoken about health anxiety on the blog before. It isn’t something I speak about a lot though really and not something I post much about on social media, though I feel I should. Health anxiety is something I have suffered with since I was a child. I wouldn’t go as far and say that I’m emetophobic, as I can cope when the kids are sick, I just absolutely hate it.
I’m not sure what triggered the start of my health anxiety as a child. I know I used to hate my brother or I getting vomiting bugs. I always remember going to my GP with weird sensations in my neck during my GCSEs and being told. it was stress. These sort of issues have never left me and it vamped up insanely when I had children. Of course they can be pretty much permanently ill and you worry about something happening to you, ands you leave them. It’s a dark, horrible thought but when I have a flare up, those are the places my mind goes and it is very difficult for them to leave me.
I don’t think I share my health anxiety enough, as usually during those times, I go very quiet. I struggle to chat and I don’t post on social media as often as I usually do, as my thoughts are consumed with worry. I had an awful period over Christmas, as so many people were unwell and I was convinced we were all going to go down with a vomiting bugs or the flu over Christmas, which would be ruined. I vowed if I did not feel better in January, I would take myself down to the GP. Luckily I did feel better and felt could get on with life and start to feel I was enjoying things again. It got that bad.
Health Anxiety and Coronavirus
When I was asked this week on how I was feeling about Coronavirus, I was actually surprised to be saying not too bad. I am in no way an expert on the matter but my common sense is trying to over rule my anxiety.
I know Coronavirus is worse than flu, it is new, it is causing absolute havoc and been classed as a pandemic. I am scared for my older relatives, I’m not going to lie but am trying not to think about it too much, as that really is a black hole to get sucked into.
I’m anxious but more over what is going to happen to our lives at the moment. How disrupted will be be and for how long for? Selfishly, I’m due back at work in a couple of weeks and this is never easy. Coronavirus is surely going to make my transition back into the world of work outside the home, harder.
As I write this my stomach has been in knots thinking about the schools and nurseries possibly closing. Home learning, juggling our jobs, juggling a very strange routine. I’m not bulk buying or going nuts in the supermarket. I’m trying to pull my head out of my home bubble and think about the impact Covid-19 is having on the vulnerable, those who can’t bulk buy, those who won’t be able to work.
How to Cope
It’s a working progress when you suffer from anxiety and you often learn with each flare up what helps and what doesn’t. There have been ways I have been keeping my health anxiety at bay and I’ll share some of these tips with you:
– Stop reading everything on social media. Stick the reputable websites and sources. I usually go with the BBC News or the NHS or WHO website for medical updates. There is SO much fear-mongering, lies and rubbish online right now and it is scary how much I have almost believed.
– If it gets too much and you’d prefer for someone else in your house to update you, turn off new notifications or maybe even delete your phone apps for a little while, especially if you do feel panicky every time you see a news story.
– Try to be knowledgable but not panic. This has really helped me having this mentality and I think why I am a little calmer. Coronavirus is not the common cold but it is also not Ebola. Look at the statistics from reputable sites.
– Take steps to look after yourself for more peace of mind. The girls are washing their hands when they come home. I am washing my hands before I leave the gym and when I return from anywhere outside the house.
– Look after your health generally. Eat healthily, plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, oily fish and nuts. Sleep well and if it makes you feel a little more covered, take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. Try and keep active and fit. Workout from home if you can or would prefer to stay away from the gym.
– If it starts to get overwhelming in your mind, try to break away from this. Read, meditate, try and calming App. Watch some television and try and concentrate on what you are doing. Practicing mindfulness can help when everything feels too much. Always speak to your GP if you are struggling to cope with day-to-day life.
Coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. It will need to run its course and this could be months of uncertainty. I know I need to try and stay calm and rationale and keep my health anxiety down.
I can cope.
How are you doing?