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Updated by Kerri Crowley on Mar 07, 2020
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5 Easy Ways to Conquer Your Coronavirus Anxiety

In the grocery store, at the gym, scrolling social media, on the news, at your child’s school pickup… no matter where you turn, the hysteria and hype about coronavirus (alias COVID-19) are seemingly inescapable. A lot of fear-mongering by the media and constant reporting of new confirmed cases of the virus in your area might have you feeling stressed and anxious. Unfortunately, all that added paranoia and worry can make you more susceptible to getting any sickness. Before you go running to the store to stock up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and canned goods, consider these five evidence-supported tips to assuage your coronavirus fears:

1

Wash Your Hands

Wash Your Hands

Many photos in the news show people across the globe clad in all sorts of ridiculous “preventative” gear. Tupperware containers on your head and futile face masks will not keep you from contracting coronavirus. Small airborne particles can still pass through both of those options. There is also no vaccine available yet for COVID-19.

Keep calm and wash your hands. The CDC confirms that this is the most effective way to prevent illness. And yes… there is a right and wrong way to wash your hands! Most of us are doing it wrong. Check out this guide to brush up on your handwashing skills. Then, check out this awesome list of 20-second songs that you can sing while washing. You’re welcome!

2

Get More Sleep!

Get More Sleep!

While there are still many unknown factors about coronavirus, research has shown time and time again that well-rested individuals are much better at keeping viruses at bay. Psychologist Aric Prather proved this in his 2015 study. When he sprayed a live common cold virus in the noses of healthy adults, 39% of those who slept less than six hours got sick while only 18% of those who slept more than six hours did. Moral of the story? Turn off Netflix and get some extra shuteye to keep your immune system strong!

3

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Having a contingency plan for emergencies can help you feel in control. As we wait for more information to emerge about coronavirus, this is the perfect time to figure out what you and your family would do if restrictions are put in place. Check with your job to see if you can work from home or cancel any upcoming travel plans. Contact your child’s school to see how he or she will be educated in the event of a closure. Ensure you have access to some water, food, and over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Use this list from the Department of Homeland Security as a checklist if it makes you feel better.While you’re at it, consider grabbing an extra bottle of fermented grapes and your favorite snack, too. You can never be too prepared!

4

Do a Digital Detox

Do a Digital Detox

Scrolling social media frequently and seeing the inundation of posts that comes with it can add to your feeling of overwhelm. Unfortunately, much of what is being shared is also misinformation. Do yourself and those around you a favor and disconnect. Be present with your loved ones. Read a riveting new book, make a craft, or try that new recipe you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest. Digesting every update and story about COVID-19 will not reduce your risk of contracting it. Consider leaving your phone on the charger to avoid the temptation. This includes when you get in bed - studies show that in-bed electronic social media use increases your likelihood of high anxiety, insomnia, and sleeplessness.

5

Get Physical

Get Physical

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress and anxiety is exercising. Not only does moving help you keep your mind off of whatever it is that’s bothering you, but it also helps your brain release important “happy” neurochemicals to boost your mood. If you can get outside and exercise in nature, even better. Harvard neuropsychiatrist Dr. John Ratey provides some excellent suggestions here for how to get started. So grab a friend or family member and get physical!