Anxiety thrives on uncertainty.
And, as the news spreads, our unanswered questions can make us feel vulnerable or fearful.
We've got global anxiety at the moment, a kind of shared stress, and we are all in a state of extreme uncertainty.
And here's a catch-22: The more you stress, the more vulnerable you can become to viruses because stress can dampen your immune response.
But there are steps you can take to push back against the communal anxiety.
1. Plan ahead to feel more in control
It's very important to say, well, no matter what happens, I've done the best that I can to be prepared.
2. Unplug. Learn to be in the moment
It's important to be in the know. But you don't need to obsess over the news. The news could have the unintended effect of driving up your fear.
Once you unplug from the news for a bit, why not try a mindfulness app such as Headspace or Simply Being to help you let go of anticipatory anxiety.
3. Prioritize good sleep
Research has shown that well-rested people are better at fending off viruses.
Individuals who were sleeping the least were substantially more likely to develop a cold," study author Aric Prather, of the University of California, San Francisco.
4. Exercise and eat well
This is always good advice, and it's worth emphasizing during times of uncertainty. There's lots of evidence that daily exercise can help promote feelings of well-being — and boost your immunity.
A Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein helped reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety among a group of young adults.
Eating sugar and ultra-processed food increases inflammation and suppresses immune function
5. Wash your hands. Embrace the elbow bump.
When an infectious disease hits a community, there's only so much anyone can do. You can't sterilize your entire environment. But taking a few preventative actions will help reduce your risk and hopefully relieve your anxiety.
During an outbreak, proper hand-washing is your best defence against a virus. So, follow the evidence-based advice to wash for 20 seconds or more using toxin-free soap and water. Or use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol like our Thieves hand sanitizer. In addition, you may want to forego hugging and hand-shakes.