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How to Stay Mentally Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source | blog.shrm.org | Osasumwen Arigbe, PHR

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak became a global concern, the world has experienced a whirlwind of unexpected events and emotions. In every direction I turn to, I get a heartbreaking report about the spread of the virus. I hear about new cases of infected patients, the troubling death rates, and the scarcity of healthcare resources to manage patients.

As if the COVID-19 statistics aren’t bad enough, I also hear about the impact of this pandemic on businesses and their workers. Employers are in panic mode and making difficult decisions. Millions of workers have been laid off, furloughed, given pay cuts, or made redundant. As a result, several households are under some form of financial stress since their sources of income have been eliminated.

This sharp turn of events has caused me a lot of anxiety and made me fully understand what it means to live in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world. Many of my plans are in limbo, and I’m learning to take each day as it comes.

Living through this kind of uncertainty is quite unusual and challenging, mainly because there isn’t a foreseeable end date to this crisis. I am observing the stay-at-home order and faced with the reality of feeling stuck. I can’t sleep or eat well. On some days, I go for a decent meal while on other days, I barely eat and find myself taking beverages and snacks. On some nights, I pace about my house worrying about my family’s safety.

Dealing with anxiety is tough, especially during a time like this. However, I’m doing my best to manage my anxiety and make each day count. Here’s what you can do to manage anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Limit the information you consume. You can stay informed without consuming every piece of information about COVID-19. Some news reports are quite repetitive and incite fear in readers. Also, it doesn’t help that there is a lot of false news circulating on social media. So, it’s important to limit the information you consume to credible sources like the World Health Organization. You may also choose to dedicate a few minutes (or hours, depending on how you feel) to checking the news.

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