Are you constantly under stress regarding COVID-19 symptoms?

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Are you constantly under stress regarding COVID-19 symptoms?

Are you constantly under stress regarding COVID-19 symptoms?

Are you constantly under stress regarding COVID-19 symptoms?

In India, the incidence of COVID-19 is increasing and round the clock discussion about COVID 19 in TV and other social media creates an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. In many people, this continuous fear of COVD -19 takes a huge toll on their mental and physical health.

it can be hard not to worry when there’s a constant influx of information about surges in infections, and new COVID-19 symptoms being added to the ever-growing list, as doctors and researchers learn more about this novel coronavirus. 

So, how can we do to alleviate the panicky feeling that sometimes overcomes us when we find ourselves asking questions like, “Does this headache mean I have COVID-19? What about that cough at lunchtime? Am I tasting things correctly? Is my sense of smell normal?”

There are things which we can do to help ourselves.

Get out of the rapid pace of life to relieve anxiety about COVID-19

The first thing to do is slow down.

Utilize a mind/body-balancing technique such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or, consider taking a break, of your daily monotonous routines. If you don’t already have an established routine — or you just don’t have enough time to do one — don’t worry. Even from your busy schedule you can take some time out to learn these relaxing techniques. Now there are plenty of online classes where you can participate under careful watch of your trainer.

The idea is to interrupt the fear-based thought pattern long enough to give your worried brain a chance to settle, so you can think more clearly. Once you are calmer, re-examine your situation. Is the suspected coronavirus symptom that originally worried you still present, or has it resolved? Have you noticed any others? Listen to the voice of reason, rather than letting emotion provide the answers.

Talk to a doctor

If you simply cannot quiet your mind, get an outside gut-check from someone who knows like your GP. Ask if whatever suspected COVID-19 symptom you’ve noticed matches your normal pattern of allergies, headaches, or other conditions, or if it seems out of the ordinary. Is the symptom something you experience regularly — whether seasonally, annually or otherwise — or is it different from the norm?

Use your GP or specialist opinion to guide your decision-making. And, if it makes sense to get tested for COVID-19 or quarantine yourself, do so.

Again, the key factor here is whether or not something marks a change. A lot of people have chronic allergies, for instance, so their sense of smell is usually poor, because they have a stuffy nose all the time. So, check in with yourself or a trusted friend before jumping to false conclusions. Unless your symptoms are new or markedly different than usual, they’re probably not due to COVID-19.

Regularly carry out  self-checks for coronavirus symptoms

Once you’ve resolved your immediate concerns, it’s time to consider more long-term methods of anxiety management.

Many health care professionals have a regular self-check program in place to monitor themselves for symptoms of illness. You can use one, too. Often, this routine includes something measurable, such as taking your temperature twice a day, and then something more subjective, such as asking yourself questions like, “Have I been coughing more than usual today?” or “Have I experienced any shortness of breath?”

The idea is to perform this self-check regularly, so you can detect any changes early, and take appropriate measures should you suspect you’ve been exposed.

But don’t start thinking you need to take your temperature hourly “just to be safe.” More data points aren’t always better. And getting obsessive will only add to your distress. So, set up regular times to check in with yourself — or use the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker — and then focus your attention elsewhere.

Take good care of your physical and mental health

In the long run, the most important thing you can do to counteract chronic worrying patterns is to take good care of yourself. That starts with following solid self-care strategies, such as eating healthy foods, staying physically active, getting enough sleep – and taking the proper precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

But taking time out to do something that relaxes or distracts you is never a bad idea. So, try to give your brain a rest as often as possible. Enjoy fun activities safely whenever you can, and remember that you’re doing your very best to stay healthy.

Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCST.