By now, you have likely heard of the coronavirus disease. The virus is now considered a public health emergency and pandemic. At Safety Services Company, we value and prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our clients and their employees. And, as the situation evolves, many are experiencing a vast range of emotions, whether its mild anxiety or serious panic.
While we work tirelessly to help create a blueprint for you and your business to stay in compliance with safety and health requirements, we also provide an element of care for our customers that may not always be apparent. We want all our customers to remain healthy, happy and safe throughout this challenging time. By staying vigilant and following best practices for hygiene, we can manage our physical health, however, we must also address the stress and anxiety this pandemic is causing.
The outliers of uncertainty can be stressful in any situation. Businesses are closing, whether permanently or temporarily, leaving a large population unemployed. With schools and daycares closed, others must stay home with young children. Some may be in self-quarantine without enough food or medicine; and some without companionship, experiencing extreme loneliness. There are those in a specific age group – at a higher risk for disease – and are living with outright fear (we acknowledge, it’s normal to be afraid).
Suddenly, hugging, shaking hands or even standing within six feet of each other is restricted. Most of the population has uncertainty and concern. As a society, we have lost the control and structure that previously gave us comfort. It is understandable that many are having difficulty coping.
The silver lining is that stress and anxiety can be very normal and healthy feelings. In fact, having some anxiety can motivate you to maintain good hygiene habits, like washing your hands more frequently and minimizing contact with other people.
Severe anxiety, on the other hand, can be debilitating. You may have too much anxiety about the coronavirus if you:
- Are preoccupied with thoughts of it for most of the day
- Are unable to concentrate on other things
- Have difficulty sleeping and/or eating
Ultimately, we need to find ways to manage these feelings and practice some self-care.
What are Some Tips for Dealing with Anxiety About the Coronavirus?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or panicked about the coronavirus, you can take steps to help keep your anxiety controlled.
- Keep your news consumption to two to three credible sources for 30 minutes or less per day: Too much news consumption can make your anxiety worse. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the media coverage of COVID-19, then try to keep it to a minimum. If you notice that you’re anxious at night, avoid the news a few hours before bed.
- Challenge your irrational thoughts and replace them with facts: Irrational thoughts and beliefs are untrue or exaggerated thoughts about a situation. In contrast, rational thoughts are accurate and based on facts. An example of a rational thought would be: “There is a risk that I could catch the virus. But if I take the recommended precautions, then I will significantly decrease my risk.” Irrational thoughts foster anxiety, while rational thoughts help you view a situation more accurately and calmly.
- Practice at least 5 minutes of relaxation each day: Counteract your stress with time spent in relaxation. For some people this may mean taking a hot bath, reading a book, or meditating. If you’re unsure what to do, you can try deep breathing, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps induce calm. Start by setting a timer for 5 minutes and sitting in a comfortable space. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it briefly, and then exhale through your nose for 6 seconds. Continue this practice for the remainder of the time.
- Stay in contact with your support system through phone, internet, and social media: This is very important. Humans are social creatures, and if you must limit contact with loved ones, it can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Whether you’re quarantined, social distancing, or just being careful, maintain contact with friends and family in whatever way you can.
- If you’re unable to cope with your anxiety on your own, seek professional help: If you’re concerned about seeing a provider in person, you may be able to meet with a mental health professional through phone or video chat (telehealth). The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act is a new law that allows healthcare providers to bill Medicare for services that are carried out through telehealth. You can call your health insurance company, speak with your physician, or conduct an online search for local mental health professionals.
You are your most important asset and your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Take a break and watch a funny movie, call an old friend, spend some time with your pets (animals provide emotional support for people feeling socially isolated). Get your preventative information from trusted sources such as the CDC, a resource for credible scientific information. Try to stay in contact with others – you can be socially connected while physically distant. Practice stress-relieving activities such as exercise (helps with mood and sleep) and meditation. Work at staying within a daily routine.
Relieve yourself of the need to “stock up” as we need to be conscientious of those in our communities who also need supplies and daily necessities. We are in this together and we will get through this together by being sensitive to the world we find ourselves in and looking after one another.
The best way you can cope with the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 virus is to understand it, take precautions and avoid panicking. Like you, we’re monitoring the latest news about COVID-19, and have been working closely with customers, helping to answer questions about workplace health and safety.
In addition, we’ve developed some new resources to help you educate employees about workplace hygiene, and tips for preventing the spread of the virus. These resources can be downloaded for free using the links below.
1. Safety Meeting – COVID-19 | DOWNLOAD HERE
Make this important topic the focus of your next safety meeting.
2. Safety Poster – COVID-19 | DOWNLOAD HERE
Increase awareness of best practices. Just download and print at your local store.
If you have any questions about how Safety Services Company can assist with your workplace health and safety, reach out to one of our Virtual Compliance Officers today: 877-201-8923.