Coping with coronavirus at home: some recommendations
March 10, 2020
Is it “normal” to fear COVID-19?
Yes. When we face a pandemic such as the COVID-19, we develop a series of psychological coping strategies in order to adapt ourselves to this threatening situation. The fear that we feel when hearing about the virus is an adaptive way to deal with that threat. Although it might sound paradoxical, threatening situations activate our defense mechanisms, and fear is one of those mechanisms. Fear can help us take measures to protect ourselves. It is important, however, to understand if this fear is coherent with real threats. If our self-defense mechanisms are activated constantly when there is no real reason, they might lead to a harmful type of fear.
When do information and precautions become excessive?
As in any area of life, there is a point when more information does not mean more knowledge, it is just “overloading your head”. That’s why it is important to access only reliable, clear and concise information. There’s no need to become a COVID-19 expert. There are certain precautions that, although they might give us an apparent sense of security, are actually only useful to lessen our fears. It is important that our behaviours remain consistent with the threat they are related to. Taking this into account is important in order to follow the official health recommendations.
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What if I have to stay at home because of the COVID-19?
Remember that you are at home in order to look after your health. Do not forget this is a temporary situation. Follow the simple medical recommendations, but do not over-check yourself looking for symptoms. You could otherwise confuse ordinary sensations with real symptoms.
A good option can be to create your own daily routine that includes checking all the symptoms at a specific time every day. This will allow you to stay in control of the situation and prevent the constant re-activation of fears and anxiety loops.
It is important to stay in touch with your friends and classmates through chat groups and video calls. Do not use conversations to alarm each other or to share irrelevant information about the topic. It won’t make it any better. Focus on sharing interesting aspects of your situation and remember that a little bit of humor goes a long way in creating a relaxing environment. Also, try to seize the moment to talk about your studies and share tips that are helping you get through this situation. After all, if you are already following all the health instructions there is no point in feeding your fear.
Some examples of positive activities include using the time to be creative, reading a book or watching one of your favourite movies. You can also take advantage of the situation and talk to family and friends that you haven’t had time to be in touch with.
If loneliness, health concerns or isolation are too hard to cope with, remember that you can chat with one of our professionals. We will support you and help you get through this troublesome period.
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