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Employee Wellness: Dealing with Anxiety and Fear in the Time of COVID-19

Sandy Smith

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.

April 16, 2020 @ 01:18 PM EDT Manufacturing, Construction, Energy - Oil and Gas Health & Safety

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