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Navigating the Anxiety Around Infectious Disease

March 17, 2020

Responding to the current outbreak of COVID-19 will undoubtedly cause anxiety and stress for millions of people. Finding ways to reduce the anxiety and stress surrounding the uncertainty is helpful for making better decisions and for your mental health.

Knowing that Your Anxiety and Stress Affects Others

As human beings it’s natural to worry about the things we cannot control. But as caregivers, managing the levels of stress that we feel can have a direct impact on everyone around us. This includes both our recipients of care as well as our family members.

If you are a family caregiver and caring for your loved one, this can seem even more stressful. But remember that there is a silver lining. You have the opportunity to manage the daily care of your loved one. This means you will also be able to monitor exactly how they are doing throughout the coming months and influence how they respond.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to muster up the courage to change our thought process in a scary situation but realize that you hold a lot of power in how everyone else in your family responds. Remaining calm and collected helps everyone else stay calm and collected. Hysteria is built through groups of people. If you can manage to be the one that doesn’t allow it to build, at least for your family and friends, you are doing a greater service than you know.

Signs of Being Overly Stressed

As a caregiver any time can be a stressful one with all of the daily responsibilities that you have. That’s why now, in these more trying times, it’s important to be aware of the different signs that you may be feeling incredibly stressed. We each think that we would know when we are feeling overly stressed, but sometimes we can overlook our behavior. This can cause us to lash out at others when we really don’t mean to.

For example, if you feel anger, denial, irritability, or the inability to concentrate, you may be feeling overly stressed and anxious and not immediately recognize it. There are many different situations that can cause a moment of anger or irritability, but it shouldn’t be constant. And inability to concentrate generally points having lots of other things on your mind. It’s common to be stressed about different things, but it’s not okay to lash out.

Tips to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Spend time each day doing routine stress reducing activities. This can include taking time for physical activity, taking deep breaths for 30 seconds at a time, and writing down and understanding your fears. And because we live in a day and age where we can connect through apps like Facetime, Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom, or others, it may be good time to call and talk through your feelings with friends and family. Remember that during these calls you should not build on any mass hysteria. Instead, you should talk through your worries and the steps you are taking to mitigate them.

Also remember that not everything you read on social media is accurate. Look to reliable sources for your information. Remember to look to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) as well as WHO (The World Health Organization) for updates on precautions you should take. This will take away a lot of the guesswork in navigating uncharted territory.

Taking just 15 minutes each day to calm your mind down can help with stress. You can even find the time during your lunch to be mindful of any thoughts you are allowing to flow through your head. Instead, try and focus on what is both positive and helpful in moving forward.

Why It Matters to Homecare Powered by AUAF

We pride ourselves on the service we have provided for over 25 years. And we want to continue to be here as a source of stable care for our recipients of care. We continue to provide caregiving services and will do so with the utmost care to the populations we serve.

Conclusion

Managing your caregiver stress is preliminary to helping manage the stress of your care recipients. It’s easy and understandable to feel overwhelmed. But, staying calm and collected in any situation allows you to make better decisions and gives you peace of mind.

Every step you take in helping reduce your own stress will help the people around you. Not only will it help in the decisions you make for them, it will ultimately help in allowing them to manage and reduce their own stress.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

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