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Here are ways to manage your anxiety in the time of COVID-19

March 15th, 2020

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We all used to think that global pandemics only happen in movies or in the games we’re playing, but boy did COVID-19 prove us all wrong. Yes, it’s not within the same level of wildness as World War Z or Resident Evil, but the outbreak is still pretty intense and everyone seems to be in post-apocalyptic mode—people are panic-buying food and alcohol, steering clear of crowds and gatherings, and basically avoiding touching and interacting with other individuals.

All these news about the spread of the virus, community quarantines, and curfews have got us all worked up, and with good reason. So how do we keep our sanity intact and our anxieties at bay? Here are some practical tips that could help:

1. Read, read, read

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Although there is some wisdom in the old saying “ignorance is bliss,” in this particular instance, ignorance can lead you to actual death. Not knowing where the virus is spreading or what your community is doing to help prevent the spread can still increase your anxiety levels. And we all know that anxious people do dumb things such as hoard tons of alcohol or face masks. So read up and don’t be a hoarder!

On the other side of the reading spectrum–you can keep yourselves preoccupied by finishing those books in your bookshelf. This is actually the most opportune time to enrich ourselves mentally.

2. Meme is life

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Staying informed has its cons, of course. Certain news items such as doctors getting infected or the rising number of cases in your community will definitely make you panic and wish that you live in a cave. So if you find that yourself reading too much heavy news and you’re starting to feel your anxiety rising, turn to memes. Because if there’s anyone who can find humor in a global pandemic, it’s us. Filipinos are well known for making jokes out of every situation imaginable, and the recent Coronavirus outbreak is no exception. Laugh it out and share memes with your friends–you’re bound to feel better for sure. Just remember to practice a little sensitivity. Share memes responsibly!

3. Meditate, don’t hate

If you’re not into memes or comic relief, meditation works wonders. You don’t need to have your own guru or read up on higher consciousness to do this. Meditation can come in many forms—it can be in the form of a prayer, a type of music that soothes your soul, or maybe just simply breathing in and out in a silent space. If you don’t know where to start, there are a bunch of meditation apps you can check out that might help. Keeping calm can help you stay alert and mindful of your actions (i.e., “am I sneezing without covering my nose and mouth?” or “did that person wash his hands after going to the comfort room?”).

4. Netflix and chill, literally

The other meaning of this millennial metaphor may not seem wise at this point in time, given that an exchange of bodily fluids may lead to actual virus infection, but indulging on that series you’ve been wanting to watch and just vegetating in front of the TV can help ease your anxiety with what’s going on in the outside world. Watch that k-drama all your officemates are talking about (Crash Landing, anyone?), or maybe that Marvel spinoff that’s connected to the Marvel Universe storyline. Watch anything except those doomsday ones or those movies about diseases spreading and creating zombies.

5. Share the love (not the virus)

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If all of the tips mentioned above are not helping, talk to your loved ones. Yes, it sounds clichéd, but nothing beats talking out your anxieties to those who you know would understand you and care for you. Sharing your fears will help alleviate some of that anxiety on your shoulder. Just make sure not to share the virus in the process.

Click here for more information and updates on COVID-19.

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