Stressful Times in the COVID-19 World

Hi everyone. We know that there is a lot of information out there these days that is very scary – especially if you have an anxiety disorder. But, in the word of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic.”

How do you survive the COVID-19 scare? Follow these simple tips and see how you feel.

1. Get your information from reliable sources ONLY. Use the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

2. Check information on the virus only once per day. Otherwise, it will just be overwhelming. Limit your screen time to all fo this as it is just overwhelming to be inundated with so much information, much of which is speculation.

3. Avoid conversations that start with, “You know, I heard that they said….” Who THEY is in these conversations is suspect, so best to just walk away.

4. Wash your hands when you come in from being out in public. Now, this is different than we have ever suggested to people with OCD in the past, where we would suggest to delay or even not wash hands, but with the CDC recommendations as they are, a 20 second hand wash when coming home is fine, More than 20 seconds is getting into OCD territory if you have OCD, and if you do not, more than 20 seconds actually can do more harm than good, as it starts to wash off oils from your hands, and that is going to lead to your hands getting dry and chapped and then you could increase the chance of getting some type of contamination.

5. Clean surfaces in your home. If you do not leave your home, no need to do this daily. If surfaces are touched by things from outside, a quick wipe down will suffice. No need to spend hours here doing that.

6. BE good examples for your children and put on a good face. Do not scare them more by your own fears.

7. Take advantage of the family time you are given with schools closing and work from home options.

8. Start to buy baby items, because in 9 to 10 months we are going to see a spike in new born babies.

9. Be nice to others in stores. There is panic buying going on – reminds me of Y2K actually. So, be kind to others.

10. If you are in need of help, we have therapists at Anxiety Centers of Illinois who are ready to assist you. Reach out to us and let us help.

Best to you.

Patrick B. McGrath, Ph.D.

President, Anxiety Centers of Illinois

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