Coronavirus: How to flatten your anxiety while flattening the curve

This is hard. Let's all just admit that. But we can get through it—together.

Coronavirus: How to flatten your anxiety while flattening the curve

The NBA has postponed its basketball season until further notice after a player tested positive for coronavirus. Beloved celebrities Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were also recently diagnosed. Some borders have closed and in hard-hit countries like China and Italy, daily life has not just been disrupted—it's fully at a standstill.

No matter where you live, when you turn on the news or scan the local headlines you're going to learn about cases of COVOD-19 in your area, canceled events and closures—it's stressful, but health experts say this is actually a good thing. As much as it sucks to hear that schools and churches are closing, this is so important. And it will make COVID-19 less scary in the long run.

"The goal is to 'flatten the curve.' Rather than letting the virus quickly rampage through the population and burn itself out fast, the idea is to spread all those infections out over a longer period of time," Matthew McQueen, the Director of Public Health Program and Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology at University of Colorado Boulder writes for The Conversation.

A chart explaining this was created by the CDC and then adapted by others. This version, by Vox, is going viral and shows exactly what McQueen is talking about.

"Now that new COVID-19 cases are being detected in the U.S. every day, it is too late to stop the initial wave of infections. The epidemic is likely to spread across the U.S. The virus appears to be about as contagious as influenza. But this comparison is difficult to make since we have no immunity to the new coronavirus," Maciej F. Boni, an Associate Professor of Biology at Pennsylvania State University writes for The Conversation.

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This is all really hard. Staying home (whether you're the mom of an infant who is worried about public gatherings or the mom of school-age kids who are suddenly stuck at home all day) is hard.

Social distancing is difficult. Let's just admit that. This is hard.

If you are in the postpartum period and feel the pandemic is making you depressed, consider reaching out for help. The Postpartum Support International (PSI) Helpline can be reached at 1-800-944-4773.

Teletherapy is an option many therapists offer and there are even apps like Talk Space or Better Help that could hook you up with a therapist you could talk to from the comfort of your home.

Writing for Harvard Health, Dr. John Sharp, a board-certified psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, suggests that "when anxiety rises because we're facing a distressing threat like the new coronavirus, we need to focus on what tends to work for us to ease anxiety—that, plus doing a little bit more of some actions and a little bit less of others."

One thing to do less of, Sharp says, is taking in headlines.

"Please don't overdose on hype or worry or misinformation. I get some regular updates from credible sources in the morning and check again briefly toward the end of the day. There's no need to stay tuned in 24/7 — it can actually make your anxiety much, much worse," he writes, suggesting that instead we "connect with friends and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, texting, and email. It really helps to feel the strength of your connections to your friends and loved ones, even though you may not be with them in person [and] stick with sources of credible medical information, so you can avoid misinformation about the virus and the illness it causes."

Team Motherly is here for you, mama. This is hard, and we're keeping track of what you need to know about COVID-19. Anxiety is up right now, but flattening the curve of coronavirus will flatten that, too.

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