Unless you have been hiding underneath a rock for the last few months, you undoubtedly have heard about the coronavirus pandemic. From the countless lives it continues to devastate and destroy, coronavirus is definitely a high level threat.
There are no shortages of horrible stories or images to be devoured daily. The images and the stories told time and time again are enough to cause a massive amount of anxiety, fear and uncertainty.
Nurses are not just professionals. They are human. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, devoted friends and spouses. Nurses are people just like you. What makes nurses successful in handling their anxiety in times like this?
Despite the fear and pandemonium surrounding them, they get up everyday and show up to care for their patients, no matter what. They show up for their patients not because they aren’t afraid or anxious at times.
They are there for their patients because nursing is not merely what they do , it is who they are. They must find a way to push past their doubts, fears and anxiety because their patient’s lives depend on them doing so.
This article will provide some practical tips on dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty with the pandemic we now face.
Nurses are in a unique position to provide insight because they are on the front line in this battle we’re all fighting. Nurses and other dedicated healthcare professionals face the same fear and anxiety that many of you face. What makes them different is a certain mindset and that helps them to be successful in working through their anxiety.
Although, the coronavirus is a serious threat, there are a few things that nurses would like for you to know in order to help you cope. These tips help nurses everyday, including myself, ease the anxiety and nervousness you may feel now.
1. Keep Things In Perspective
The Coronovirus is a very serious threat and should be taken extremely seriously. Be informed, be mindful, be prepared but do not panic. According to a John Hopkins tracker over 82,000 people worldwide have recovered from the coronavirus to date.
Regrettably their will be fatalities with this virus; However, there is hope in the numbers of patients who either only suffer mild to moderate symptoms or recover from the virus after falling ill. We will get through this. There are things we can and should do to protect ourselves. Educate yourself in order to protect yourself.
2. Limit Your Exposure
By limiting your exposure, we’re not talking only talking about your exposure to the risk of contracting the virus. We’re referring to limiting the amount of time you are exposed to the panic that you read or see in media outlets.
Excessive exposure to potentially traumatic events can increase anxiety and a sense of helplessness. Try limiting your updates to every few days if possible or no more than once a day.
3. Get Your Source Of Information From Trusted Sources ONLY
There is so much inaccurate information circulating that increases our sense of fear. Educate yourself on how to protect you and your loved ones; However, make sure that the information you are receiving is coming from experts in the area of epidemiology or infection control. Unreliable sources, self claimed experts or well meaning friends may provide inaccurate information needlessly ramping up your sense of anxiety.
The following are just a few recommendations for reputable and reliable information . Seek information directly from your local and state health departments, The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, The World Health Organization, or The European Centre For Disease Prevention and Control.
4. Stay Connected
Although social distancing is recommended, that does not mean not staying connected. It is extremely important that you stay connected to your tribe of family and friends. Make sure to stay connected with those you love and find supportive daily.
If you are not able to see them in person, use technology to help you connect. To stay connected call them on the phone, facetime , schedule virtual dinner dates or movie dates where you share a meal or watch a movie while you facetime or skype each other. Maintaining supportive daily human connections is key to not feeling isolated in your experience.
5. Distractions Works Wonders
Distract yourself when you find yourself obsessing about what’s happening or what could happen. Educating yourself on how to protect you and your family is your best defense to fight this virus. Excessive worrying will be your enemy.
If you find yourself thinking about the current events excessively, distract yourself. Some healthy ways of distracting are going for a walk, reading a book or watching old movies. Try thinking of things that you already love to do and just do them.
6. There’s Power In Protection
One the best and most effective ways to reduce the spread of infection is to wash your hands with soap and water often. Learning to do it correctly can help to protect you, your family and those around you.
Below is a fun throwback video produced by Jefferson University Hospital titled “Wash Em” to teach you how to correctly wash your hands . It also serves as an important reminder that nurses know all to well. Never forget to laugh even in toughest of times. Click the following link to laugh and learn: https://youtu.be/tmMGwO4N0Vc