Are you afraid of the Coronavirus, or are you close to someone who is anxious? With the increasing number of cases of the virus, more and more people are experiencing fear and anxiety. Talking about it can help. It’s especially important to talk with people who live alone and have no one to share their concerns with and with elderly people and patients with chronic illness, who may be at higher risk.
In order to inspire meaningful and supportive conversation, the professionals at ‘Life Door’ have put together some recommendations for calming conversations about corona, particularly with the people who most need your support these days:
- Sometimes just being there is enough – In times of uncertainty, simple human connection becomes even more important than usual. Don’t underestimate the immense gift this is.
- Stop for a moment and give it some thought – People who express fear or uncertainty, or who demand answers, are experiencing complex emotions. A quick, unthinking response can increase their sense of fear. The more you can be with them and hear their feelings and questions, the less stress and loneliness they will feel.
- You don’t need to have the answers – Don’t expect yourself to solve the problem. When we expect this of ourselves it can lead us to give a quick answer and change the subject, leaving the person alone with their worry. Instead of answers, listen and express empathy, thereby creating closeness.
- Fear and uncertainty are understandable and normal – Don’t try to convince the person that everything is okay. Instead, accept the feelings people raise. With words and with body language show that you understand – yes, it really is scary, and nod.
- Listening is the thing – Listening incorporates five components:
- Don’t be doing something else.
- Sit down – Studies show that when you sit down, people feel that the time you have given them is doubled.
- Eye contact – where the eyes are is where your attention is.
- Facial expression and body language – an open posture is preferable to folded arms and legs.
- Words – Use simple, brief phrases to express caring and empathy.
- Answer honestly – It’s important to understand the question being asked and answer it as honestly as possible. And when we don’t know, it’s worth replying: “We can try to find an answer together.”
- Don’t isolate yourself – Whether you’re a family caregiver, a healthcare professional or simply a kind, caring person, find someone that you can talk to too. Talk about how you’re coping with people’s anxiety these days. Support each other.
- Here are some tips you can pass along that help to reduce anxiety:
- Limit media exposure: While it may be tempting to check for news every few minutes, this tends to increase anxiety. Focusing on catastrophic thoughts and predictions, which is what tends to fill social media, can foster anxiety. Instead, stick to reliable sources like the Ministry of Health
- Reduce risk: No need to be embarrassed to take reasonable precautions. Follow Health Ministry guidelines such as frequent hand-washing, staying at home if you don’t feel well, and rest.
- Self-Care Relieves Anxiety: It’s important to maintain a self-care routine, and add your favorite anxiety-reducing component, such as hiking in nature, meditating, exercising or talking to a friend. Spend less time in front of screens, connect more with people and talk about other things and not only this issue.
We at Life’s Door are here to assist