It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is on our minds much of the time. But like many others, you may feel you’re spending too much time thinking about it. And these thoughts can be anxiety-inducing and distressing in nature. It can be hard to avoid the subject, given how prevalent it is in the 24-hour news cycle and how often it is brought up in conversation.
The focus on the pandemic is, of course, understandable and to be expected. But if you’re getting caught up in overthinking, worry, and despondency, what can you do about it? Fortunately, there are some simple ways to add a bit more ease to your life during this difficult time. This will allow you to re-focus on your thoughts and energies on your work, relationships, and hobbies.
Limit Your News Intake
News about the coronavirus can be valuable and insightful. But at the same time, consuming too much of this news too often can be counterproductive. It can distract you from work and feed into anxiety, a mindset that may be challenging to overcome.
For this reason, you want to consume news mindfully. Ask yourself: How much do I need to know? So long as you are aware of the current guidelines on staying safe and any changes to restrictions, it may not make sense – for your mental health – to constantly check updates about the state of the pandemic. Stay informed, of course, but not at the expense of your well-being.
You can control your news intake by limiting how much time you spend on social media or news sites. If others around you are always talking about the pandemic (either in person, on the phone, or on a messaging app), you may want to have a conversation about it. There’s nothing wrong with moving onto a different subject.
Avoid Heated Arguments About the Pandemic
This current situation is a tough time for all of us. Social isolation and a lack of face-to-face contact and human touch have become normal. Fears surrounding the pandemic can also affect our day-to-day mood. Due to the impacts of the virus, it makes sense we would feel irritable. However, acting out of this irritability and getting into heated arguments with others (online or otherwise) will only increase feelings of stress and create separation, when what we really need is more connection.
Of course, differences in beliefs about the pandemic will naturally cause tension and passionate disagreements to arise. If someone has bought into conspiracy theories about the pandemic and doesn’t agree with restrictions, lockdowns, mask-wearing, or social distancing, it may be tempting to want to argue about it. Healthy conversations are useful. And they are necessary, as they ensure that people have the accurate information that will help protect themselves and others. Nonetheless, with emotions already running high, it’s important to question if engaging in an argument about it will just lead to stress, anger, and animosity.
Also, it is generally better to have conversations about a complex and sensitive subject like this in person or on the phone, as texting can be quite impersonal. Arguing online or on WhatsApp tends to lead to less understanding compared to real, spoken conversations, where you have cues to a person’s emotions and where ideas can be expressed more clearly. Much is often lost and misinterpreted over text.
To achieve greater peace of mind during the pandemic, it is better to take an attitude of curiosity, compassion, and acceptance toward others rather than become frustrated by our judgments. The pandemic is hard enough. Let’s not make it even harder for ourselves and others. Read further on this same topic topic and learn how to stay positive during the pandemic.