COVID-19 anxiety: How to handle your mental health during the pandemic
The Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (MSSS) is holding an awareness campaign with the goal of encouraging those with symptoms of a possible anxiety disorder, and their loved ones, to get information and seek help. (Photo: Shutterstock)
REGINA -- As more cases of COVID-19 are announced across the country daily, experts says anxiety and fear will continue to spread as well.
“The unfortunate thing about fear is it also is contagious and when we see other people responding with fear and anxiety, we tend to respond the same way,” Dr. Gordon Asmundson, psychology professor at the University of Regina said.
Dr. Asmundson has been researching psychology and anxiety for three decades. He said anxiety and fear occurs when society is faced with uncertainties and threats, including situations such as Covid-19.
He offered some advice for those feeling their anxiety increase as the virus continues to spread:
- Trust decision makers and the tactics and strategies they're advising us to follow.
- Stay healthy by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising
- Practice social distancing
- Limit social media consumption
“It's easy to see things about Covid19 on the news,” Dr. Asmundson said. “While we need that to be informed, we also need to take a break from that.”
One message from government, consider this an opportunity.
"I would like us to view this as a calming thing that we can do in terms of spending more time with family, as kids are at home,” Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said.
Dr. Asmundson's said his research shows long-term effects from prior pandemics are minimal.