The SimplyWell blog produced by Cleveland’s MetroHealth System offers tips for navigating the fear and anxiety associated with COVID-19.
Robert Smith, PhD, director of MetroHealth’s Medical Staff Assistance Program, has advice for managing emotions during uncertain times. A recent blog post reminds us that it’s critical we maintain perspective and support one another during this worldwide crisis, and acknowledges It’s difficult to make sense of a threat we cannot see, don’t fully understand, and are unable to stop.
“Fear, anger, frustration and sadness are normal,” the blog notes, adding: “But we cannot act impulsively. Fear and anxiety are intended only to make us cautious and thoughtful.”
The Tips: Stop, Gather Information, Evaluate, and then Act
Here are some tips to manage your emotions:
- Be informed, but not over-informed.
- Use official sources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio Department of Health, etc.) and check periodically – not every 10 minutes.
- Stay fact-based.
- Avoid imagining worst possible scenarios and consider most likely scenarios.
- Remain focused.
- Ask yourself, “Have I interacted with an active case?” If not, refocus your thoughts and be positive.
- Be prepared.
- Know how to seek care, if needed, and be prepared for a possible quarantine.
- Manage risk.
- Stay home, wash your hands for 20 seconds, cover coughs, maintain safe distance of 6 feet during necessary outings (grocery store, pharmacy, etc.).
- Stand together, but stand apart.
- Limit physical contact, of course, but maintain contact with your family and friends. They need you – call, text, email, write letters.
- Be kind.
- Demonstrate patience, compassion, gratitude and love – now more than ever.
Listen to Dr. Smith's Podcast. He shares some ways to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety related to COVID-19.