Wednesday | 27 May | 2020
By Melodie Veldhuizen
If there is one thing that puts people worldwide in the same boat, it is the Covid-19 pandemic. Everybody is experiencing worry and fear to a greater or lesser extent. This may differ from one individual to the next depending on your personality or unique circumstances.
Worries and fears
In the literature and conversations with individuals the following fears and worries are prevalent:
– that the pandemic will get out of hand if a cure is not found in time
– that the lockdown period will simply be extended all the time, especially because hundreds of people do not take the situation seriously and do not keep to the lockdown rules
– worries that you or your loved ones will become seriously ill and could even die
– that normal medical services will become inaccessible and that one will not be able to see your doctor or be hospitalised
– to be hospitalised for nonrelated diseases or emergency operations and be infected with the virus there and not be able to receive visitors
– to be injured if you live alone or to become ill and not be able to contact somebody
– never to see a loved one again; perhaps you didn’t get an opportunity to see your aged parent(s) a last time before lockdown ─ what if he or she dies before you have seen each other again?
– that you are not competent to help your children with home schooling and that they will fail their examinations
– that your student child will fall behind with his studies and will not graduate at the end of the year
– economy: will the company I work for continue doing business after lockdown? Will I still have a job? Will my own business survive? How will I and my family survive financially?
– that eventually there will not be enough food and other emergency supplies in the shops
– that people will become riotous because of the lockdown and the fact that they will not have access to cigarettes and liquor, which will lead to violence, robbery, burglaries, theft and murder
– that one is going to lose all control over your own life ─ you already have no control over the spreading of the virus, over other peoples behaviour, over how long the lockdown is going to last, or over the country’s economy
– the fear of total isolation and to have no contact whatsoever with anybody else
Handling of fears and worries
Do you feel as if your fears and worries are overwhelming you? Do you know that emotions are more contagious than the virus? They have no respect for distance and lockdown. You can influence other people, positively or negatively, by the way you feel and react. In the same way others can “infect” you with their negativity or positivity. For that reason it is important that people should handle their fears and worries in a sensible way. At all times be aware of what it is that makes you anxious. Try to avoid the situation or thinking about it, or handle it in a sensible way.
– Stay informed by referring to reliable sources only.
– Focus on that over which you do have control. Reduce your and your family’s risk by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly if possible, staying at home, avoiding big crowds and always maintain a safe social distance.
– Plan, if possible. Write down what worries you and be proactive. Think about possible solutions without necessarily trying to find the ideal solution; the mere fact that you are already thinking about it (without becoming anxious) will make you feel that you do have some control over the situation.
– Take care of your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep and don’t neglect to take care of yourself physically. Listen to beautiful music, watch a movie that lifts your spirit and read something inspiring, or do something you enjoy. Listen to spiritual talks on the radio or internet, or draw spiritual strength from your personal quiet time.
– Stay with your daily routine to retain some normality.
– Spend as much time as possible in nature and get enough sunshine and fresh air.
– Reach out to others who are suffering more than you and for a moment forget about your own worries and fears. Offer to do shopping, send encouraging text messages, or phone now and then.
– If friends or family begin to panic, encourage them. It will also help you to stay positive in spite of your own fears.
– Be friendly and empathic towards everybody you come into contact with when you have to face the community ─ the petrol attendant, cashier, car guard or pharmacist, the police officer who has to keep the order.
– Stay in contact with your friends and family. It’s good for your emotional wellbeing and you can satisfy yourself that they are stiil alive.
– When you communicate, avoid negative subjects such as the corona virus and its consequences. Laugh, tell of the lates book or movie that you enjoyed, or tell your mother about your toddler’s antics.
– When you feel depressed or anxious, talk about it to somebody you trust. Encourage everybody you care about to do the same.
– Avoid contact with people that could aggravate your fear.
– Do not allow fear and anxiety to become pandemic too.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/the-courage-suffer/202003/why-are-we-so-afraid-the-covid-19-virus
The Irish Times. https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/coronavirus-the-psychological-impact-and-16-ways-to-keep-a-clear-head-1.4198918
The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/smarter-living/coronavirus-anxiety-tips.html
USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/03/12/coronavirus-fear-psychology-powerlessness-toilet-paper-sanitizer/5010095002/
* All information was correct at the time of publication.