Coping With Coronavirus Anxiety - You Are Not Alone.

Posted 24 Mar 2020
By Dr Dominique Thompson
Two students in shared student accommodation

So much information, so much advice, so much uncertainty. 

How do we sort out what is real in what we hear, and what we can believe?

We live in extraordinary times, and we are all having to adapt - with almost no warning, no preparation, and whilst navigating a tidal wave of new and scary information, as well as quite a lot of fake news.

What we really need is simple, clear, unambiguous advice, and support. 

Student accommodation can feel lonely, we need our friends and family like never before, yet in so many cases we can’t be with them in person. We need to look after our mental health and wellbeing, yet we can’t do all of the things we would normally do, such as go outdoors, exercise, go to college, or meet up with friends. It is a time of confusion and worry. Not surprisingly most people are feeling anxious, some more than others. 

If you are feeling anxious, or even very anxious, you are NOT alone. In fact, because so many people are worried and stressed, coping with this new reality, it is (more than ever) important for us to look after ourselves, and each other. 

Here are some tips for if you are feeling particularly anxious - they may help…

  • Plan your day - routine is everything, so eat regularly, exercise, and even consider doing a remote dog walk with a friend who can get outside! Ask them to video-chat with you, as they walk their pet. You can even remote stroke their dog, without being at risk of catching the virus!
  • Take back control - this is key to reducing anxiety in many aspects of our lives. It’s the ‘not knowing’ that wears us down. The constant uncertainty. So think about what you can control, and tackle those things- what to have for lunch, what to wear, who to speak with, which book to read, which piece of work to do, which project to start. We can’t control the virus, any more than we can control the weather, so stop shouting at the telly, and focus on what you can do.
  • Read or watch only credible, reliable news - and only do that once or twice a day. Pick a website or source you trust, and mute the others. You don’t need to read 800 versions of the same story, with different details on different feeds. Delete the unnecessary deluge of info, and mute the negativity.
  • Be kind - To yourself, to others, to neighbours, to strangers. Online, or in person. To those with whom you’re cooped up. Being kind to others makes us feel good about ourselves (it’s a well-known wellbeing trick!) but will also make their day better, and yours nicer. We all need a little extra goodness and humanity in our lives right now. Be gentle with others

The next few weeks are going to challenge us all, in ways we never saw coming, even a month or so ago. It is normal, and very human, to feel anxious. All we can do is take each day as it comes, and tell ourselves that, soon, this will all be over. Stay safe.

For more advice or support check out Dominique’s Student Wellbeing Series of books.

Posted 24 Mar 2020
By Dr Dominique Thompson