How to Manage Your Fears and Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak

mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

It’s almost as if the world is coming to an end. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as if I am living in a zombie movie or Jake Gyllenhaal in The Day After Tomorrow.

Life as we know it has stopped. It’s not just in one part of the world either. It’s the entire world! 

When the stock market isn’t closed due to it experiencing some of the lowest drops in history, it’s either incredibly volatile and looks somewhat like a rollercoaster. Fitness clubs have been forced to shut their doors for a minimum of two weeks so there are going to be few who exercise regularly. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have all suspended play until June. For the first time in a long time, there will be no March Madness. Grocery stores are running low on supplies. And to make matters worse, schools are shut down so know we all have children bothering us at all times of the day. 

Sorry – too soon for jokes…

But in all seriousness, we are banned from traveling and are told to focus on social distancing. The world has officially gone mad! And from recent reports, this could be the new normal for the next several months, or maybe even the next year.

Unfortunately, nobody knows when this is all going to be over. While researchers are trying desperately to find ways to cure COVID-19, nothing will be released to the public until summer. After finding a cure, the drug would have to go through the FDA where it would require an extensive test and trial period. 

We might as well just face the fact that this is how life is going to be for the foreseeable future. There is so much uncertainty in the world right now that it doesn’t even make sense to hypothesize when this might be all said and done.

What we do know is that this virus has been one of the most devastating things on our health, the world economy, and everyone’s psyche in a very long time. It’s a pandemic. Just recently, airline companies in the United States have come out and said that COVID-19 has been more detrimental to the airline industry than 9/11 was. 

Everybody is concerned right now, and rightfully so.

The thing is — we just don’t know what is going to happen in the weeks and months to come. It’s become a game of cat and mouse in the sense that the world is shutting down in an effort to try and slow the spread before it takes more lives than it already has.

Living In A Time of Fear

The above wasn’t meant to spread fear into your life. It was meant to show you the reality of the state in which we are currently in. 

There’s no question that it’s a scary time right now, but more so, it’s also a time to be strong, to show how strong you truly are in the face of adversity, and not allow fear to take control of your life – better yet, your mental health. 

We are better than that. Sure, there’s no denying that it’s a scary time filled with uncertainties, but it’s also a time to think with the head on your shoulders, to make the most out of the opportunities that you have in front of you, and stay as positive as you can through all of this. There really is no other option. 

Society is so wrapped up in fear at it seems as if the preparation and prevention of COVID-19 has consumed more lives than the disease itself.

Watching everything play out has been mind-boggling. No matter what we see and hear, the next day seems to always bring new challenges, more cases, and various shutdowns. But the thing is, despite all of the headlines that we see and hear claiming to have an answer, nobody knows.

If there is one thing that COVID-19 has revealed about the world, it’s that we spend an awful lot of our time overthinking, living in fear, and preparing for the worst possible case scenario — even during uncertain times. 

The Impact on Mental Health

All of us are influenced by the emotions that we feel. The emotions that we experience are much like our physical health. Just as important as our physical health is for our overall well-being, our mental health is just as equally important

Ultimately, it is up to each individual human to realize just how much power we have over each moment. It is entirely up to us, as individuals, to decide to live in happiness — or fear.

What’s important to know about fear, it that it is both our friend and our enemy. It is what prevents us from moving forward in life, or catches us before making a decision we may regret later on in life. 

When we are feeling weak mentally and emotionally, fear is poison. It is that voice inside of our heads telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t worthy enough, and that we don’t amount to much. 

When we are feeling strong mentally and emotionally, it is our fear of jeopardizing all that we have worked for that will stop us from acting with too much confidence. Because of this sense of fear, we make rational decisions while acting in the best interest of our future.

Managing Fear and Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Right now, this statement couldn’t be more true. The only thing we should fear through all of the uncertainty that we are experiencing right now is fear itself. 

As a society, we are allowing our fears and all of the uncertainties that come with fear to stop us from living life in the present moment. We are locking ourselves in our houses, buying months of supplies at a time, and waiting for a better day to live when we know all too well that the day may never come. 

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take this virus seriously. As more and more cases are announced on a daily basis, it’s clear that the concern is real. But so too is the concern for living a life controlled by fear. 

Final Thoughts

Right now, fear is winning. Some may argue that it’s in the best interest of everyone to stay isolated, but the more we allow this virus to control our every move and to consume our every last thought, the more fear we are injecting into our lives and the more challenging it will be to ever break free from this habit.

Not only is it our decision, but it is also our responsibility to be bigger and to be stronger — mentally and emotionally. Don’t give in to fear. Don’t allow fear to win more than it already has. Be safe, take care of yourself, but also be willing to treat today like the gift that it is. You never know when that gift may vanish.

Michael Bonnell

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