Quarantine Fear: How to overcome

Experiencing fear is not new for individuals and families experiencing illness. But fear arising during this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is new. It is a moment to assist individuals/families with how to address and alter fears that arise during this time of social distancing or self-quarantine.

Fear is usually experienced as an unpleasant emotion triggered by a constraining belief  that something unwelcome is about to happen, or something is dangerous, or the safety of someone is threatened. Paradoxically, the more we resist what is happening to us, the more fearful we become, and the more we suffer.

Most countries are facing the societal challenging need for a new quarantine period due to the increasing number of COVID-19 infections. We have to explore the association of increased feelings of loneliness, death obsession, and preoccupation with God with the increased fear of coronavirus during the quarantine. 

Then, how to deal with it?

Firstly, we have to identify what type of fear?

There are several reasons why people are fearful of returning to their normal social interactions. While vaccination rates are increasing, there is still the fear of getting sick. Others fear a loved one could get sick—or even die.

Another reason for fear is unavailability of your favourite foods or not having a haircut for several weeks or a manicure, or not being able to get fresh fruit, and the proverbial worry of running out of toilet paper or disruption of something in routine while in quarantine. A complete lost track of your daily routine while in quarantine for a certain period of time may predispose to depression. 

And another fear is the result of departing from your loved ones. The fear that you might not be able to see your parents, your family or your best friends or lovers will finally drag you down into deep anxiety.  

There are the more serious fears being expressed by parents having to home school their children; teenagers worried they will have lost some friends when they return to school; university students worried about what will happen to their academic term; elderly concerned that they may never be able to plant their garden; and deep worries about not being able to visit an elderly parent who is very ill or worse yet dying; not being able to pay their rent; and fears about losing livelihoods and businesses. 

Then, after noticing what type of fear, bring them into your awareness. With awareness about what is happening in your mind, comes freedom. Ask yourself “Why am I making myself fearful by thinking that?” It is your thought forms that make you fearful. With awareness, your fears serve no useful purpose. Your fears are only in your imagination of the events that have not even happened yet. The way to move away from fearful thinking is to bring your attention to something else, to feel your inner body.

When you find yourself engaged in catastrophic thinking —like when you’re imagining everything that could go wrong—catch yourself. The more time you spend dwelling on the potential gloom and doom, the worse you’ll feel.

Reframe your negative thoughts by reminding yourself of the things that might go better than you expect.

For example, think of the good things that can happen—like families will be able to visit their loved ones and business owners will be able to make more money.

You might even come up with something unique to you that can be positive, such as you will be able to go to the movies or you’ll be able to visit someone you haven’t seen in a while.

After that, you must focus on what you can control.

Worrying about all the things you can’t control will fuel your anxiety—and do nothing to prevent problems from occurring. So, it’s important to stay focused on the things you can control.

You might decide to take things at your own pace. Just because religious services are open to the public, doesn’t mean you have to attend. Or, just because stores are open, you don’t necessarily have to go.

Of course, there may be times when you feel like you don’t have too many choices. If your boss calls you back into the office, you might put your job at risk if you decline to go into work.

But remember, there are always things you can control. For example, you can control your breathing, what you eat, what time you go to bed, and how much you exercise. Staying focused on those things might help you manage your anxiety a little bit better.

The pandemic has helped some people recognize changes they want to make moving forward. Some people have decided they don’t want life to ever become so busy and chaotic ever again. After enjoying a little downtime, they recognize they need to rest more often.

Others have recognized the need to socialise more. Talking is healing.Yes, daily phone calls, emails, and texting is healing, if we take the opportunity to express our fears and worries to trusted family members, friends, and/or health professionals. Being vulnerable increases our courage. Expressing our fears, serious or trivial, can invite healing and a more peaceful mind and spirit. Once the chance to gather with friends was taken away, people  realised that they should take more opportunities to engage in face-to-face social interactions.

No matter what your life was like before and during the pandemic, there’s likely something you can take away from the experience.

When your anxiety is high, take a minute to figure out how to best cope with your emotions. There are many things you can do to take care of yourself. But what works for you might not work for someone else.

Taking a walk, calling a friend to talk, reading a book, or doing some deep breathing exercises might work for one person. Writing in a journal or listening to a podcast might help someone else manage their anxiety.

It’s important to test out a variety of coping strategies to learn what works for you. Does taking a bath calm your body and your mind? Or, are you at your best when you burn off some nervous energy by hitting the gym? It’s up to you to decide what works best.

Create a schedule for working, eating, exercising, and decreasing your news watching and increasing your connections with family, friends, and colleagues.I recommend binge-watching Netflix; tune in to as many news conferences you desire, stay in your jammies all day; purchase something on Amazon; join a singing group on YouTube; Google and learn about the first place you will visit when this virus has ended its terrifying days.

Last but not least, you have to monitor your media intake, especially pandemic news. Consuming information about stressful events can keep you in a heightened state of alert and fuel your anxiety.

While it’s important to stay informed, monitor how much media you’re consuming. Consider checking the news once or twice a day or setting a time limit on your social media apps. Limiting your media intake can give your mind a much needed rest from the news.

Finally, remember that it’s a global pandemic, and we all have to face and deal with it. We all are in this together regardless of your race, religion, finance, popularity, social status. No human can escape from this. We have to keep in mind that we all can overcome this together by following the guidelines, and stay healthy and stay safe. 

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