How to curb anxiety from coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus has uprooted millions of lives, canceled events and gatherings galore. There are constant updates about the disease on television and online.

It is our job as journalists at FOX 5 to keep you informed, but we realize all that information can get overwhelming.

That's why FOX 5's Alex Whittler spoke to a psychotherapist to find the best things you can do for your mental health in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Angela Buttimer has offered therapy for more than 20 years.

She says it is in your best interest to the most normal life you can—even if there have been major adjustments to your routine.

"That might mean waking up at the same time every day and doing what you do in your morning ritual even if you’re not going to the office, put the clothes on that you would wear to the office," she said.

Washing your hands more often, not touching your face in public, and keeping a safe distance from people when out and about can all cause anxiety.

Even a simple trip to the grocery store has put shoppers on edge, sparking brawls in aisles and drawing hundreds to empty store shelves. 

"The mass hysteria that I see out there is even a little more dangerous than the virus itself," Buttimer said.

"A lot of that information is a vortex of information with conflicting opinions so I really like the idea of picking one credible source like the CDC, the world health org or FOX 5 team to tune in to really know what’s really going on," she said.

Buttimer says "social distancing is smart," but "isolation is not."

With schools, jobs, and social events making changes to curb the spread of COVID-19, life can get lonely.

Buttimer says now is the time technology serves us best.

"See other people," she urged. "Get on zoom, facetime, so you don’t feel so lonely," Buttimer said.

"Emotions and feelings are contagious," she said.

And that applies to parents too. 

"Have candid conversations with your child about this, telling them what you know, making sure you’re staying calm and grounded yourself because kids are paying attention to how parents are behaving, so they’re taking their cues from their parents," Buttimer said.

In short:

Be in control.

  1. Consume reliable information
  2. Don’t let other’s negativity bring you down
  3. Don’t forget to sleep and exercise while spending more time indoors.