14 March 2020 The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is leading to huge levels of anxiety across the globe. People seem to be trying to manage their fears through an increasing need for control by rushing out to buy more basic goods than they need. They may believe that they have the virus and panic, or develop increasing concerns about the availability of treatment.

We need to stay calm and attempt to stay as strong and as healthy as possible - and support others to do the same.

Health anxiety has been a big problem in recent years due to real and perceived threats. It seemed to begin in the early 1990s with increasing understanding – and misinformation – about the HIV virus.  Since then we have experienced many hurdles, like SARS, the Ebola Virus and Bird Flu.  However, none has created such a global effect until the outbreak of COVID-19.  In just a few weeks, Governments across the world have been forced to introduce drastic and understandable measures to protect their health systems and ensure that those most vulnerable to the Coronavirus can receive adequate treatment.

We are still uncertain as to what lies ahead, and uncertainty often leads to increased anxiety.  Already, uncertainty is embedded in our lives, affecting us in real and imagined ways, leading to mental health issues as people attempt to regain control of their lives. Eating disorders, compulsions, and other behavioural and emotional disorders can stem from uncertainty. And if we ultimately feel unable to cope with the change and unpredictability that life offers us, it's understandable that we can begin to feel defeated and depressed.

Helpful steps to manage high levels of anxiety in this rapidly changing world include getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, regular exercise and making time for hobbies, meditation, yoga, and music to redirect your mind and calm your body.  Read through our library for many helpful articles on managing anxiety and keeping yourself well. The Australian Government website offers information on how to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. And here's some information to help you to be prepared for further restrictions, a quarantine or a lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Overwhelming fear and anxiety can affect your physical health. If you are finding that even the thought of COVID-19 is elevating your anxiety to an uncomfortable degree, or have other concerns, such as separation from your family, call us at Chelsea Psychology 93866020.

On a behavioural level, here's some advice from health professionals about “right” action:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
  • If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people)
  • Exercising personal responsibility for social distancing measures.

We are doing our best at Chelsea Psychology to keep our waiting room and therapy rooms as clean, hygienic and comfortable as possible. If you do not wish to spend time at the desk, you are welcome to pay online before attending your session.  We will email you a receipt and you can claim your Medicare rebate through the Medicare app https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/express-plus-medicare-mobile-app

We are here to help you and to alleviate your anxiety in any way we can. The symptoms of Coronavirus include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.  If you or anyone with whom you have come into close contact has symptoms of a cold, flu or is generally feeling unwell, or has recently travelled overseas, please use the recommended 14 days of self-quarantine before returning to Chelsea Psychology.

Please feel free to call 03866020.