When we began updating our website’s anxiety information a few months ago, we had no idea it would become even more important than it has become now.
COVID-19 has turned our world completely upside down. Borders around the world are closing, lockdowns are being imposed, stock markets are plummeting, and we are being urged to distance ourselves from other people.
Some degree of psychological fallout is inevitable. Stress levels are up. So too is fear. There will be spikes in anxiety across communities.
This is why we at Jean Hailes are launching our updated Anxiety pages. We hope they will help to provide you with strategies to understand and deal with feelings of nervousness, worry, unease, panic and a fear of what might, or might not, unfold.
They will help you to identify signs and symptoms, to understand why we experience anxiety, provide ways to manage it, and point you to resources and programs for managing anxiety online.
It is important to remember that you are not alone if you are experiencing feelings of fear and dread. Sometimes it feels as if the world is being engulfed not just by Coronavirus, but also by a pandemic of fear. It has left many of us feeling vulnerable.
The television news and the newspapers are filled with the harsh realities of our current new world. Perhaps instead of focusing on the death tolls or supermarket squabbles over toilet paper, we can instead look to the more heart-warming acts of kindness and generosity that are also occurring around us.
Take a look at the YouTube video (below) of the dark and deserted street in Siena, Italy, where people stood at their windows and joined together in a traditional Tuscan song, Canto della Verbena. Or watch the people of Spain who stood to applaud the medics on the frontline who are dealing with the casualties of this virus (second video below). Their examples are being followed in other cities and towns around the world.
This can be a difficult time for many children who may be feeling fearful and anxious. The good news is that health organisations are already producing useful information and resources to help guide parents. The Australian Psychological Society has released this guide to help with talking to children who might be feeling anxious.
This will potentially prove to be a lonely and difficult time for many in our community. But what it means – more than ever – is that we should look out for each other, especially the elderly, those less abled, and the lonely.
Make the most of technology. Consider having virtual dinner parties– cook the same meal and ‘meet’ on webcam – or take book groups online. Enjoy online performances by the many musicians now playing in their lounge rooms around the world. Or take a free tour of one of many galleries worldwide now sharing its art online, from the National Gallery of Victoria to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In times of adversity, we can often discover strengths we never knew we had. And, as our Anxiety pages reinforce, there is always someone ready to listen and help you.