While the news about the COVID-19 outbreak may seem overwhelming at times, it’s important not to lose sight of your overall health. Remember to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and manage stress.
”This is an extremely stressful time, due to the uncertainty we all face. There is even greater stress for the self-employed, small business employees and those in low wage jobs, as well as people dependent on savings and stock market investments,” said Dr. Sweitzer. She recommended this article, “10 Ways to Control Your Coronavirus Anxiety,” from the March 18, 2020, New York Times. Some excerpts:
- Seek the facts from valued information sources and follow up-to-date instructions. Don’t get wound up by anxiety-producing sources and misinformation.
- Put the pandemic in perspective and acknowledge other life stresses that may add to the sense of being overwhelmed. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on what you should do to reduce your own risk.
- Identify the source of your anxiety. This gives the opportunity to calm down and do your best thinking.
- Don’t shame and blame. Don’t look for scapegoats. We’re all in this together. Hold on to your humanity.
- Ask for help. Ask a clear-thinking person to help you sort out decisions – how much to buy, whether to travel, how to manage family matters.
- Don’t procrastinate about preparing for the worst. Anxiety can make you under- or overreact. Trust your capacity to make changes.
- Connect while respecting social distancing. Use the phone, text, email, but stay in touch with people important to you.
- Practice self-compassion. Care for others and yourself. Understand that anxiety and fear come and go, but don’t be hard on yourself because you’re unable to always shut them out. We’re only human.
- Don’t skip self-care. Maintain a routine, do healthy activities -- therapy, conversation, exercise, yoga, meditation, and religious and spiritual practices. Don’t overlook art, singing, journaling and helping others.
- Don’t let fear and anxiety become pandemics. “Terrible things happen, but it is possible to move forward with love and hope.”
If You Get Sick
If you experience symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your health care professional.
Treatment for virus infections, including COVID-19, typically involves rest and staying hydrated. If you have heart failure, excess fluid in your body may be a concern. So, ask your health care professional about extra monitoring you might need.
Also, if you are taking medicine for a health condition, including heart disease or diabetes, problems may occur if you skip a dose or stop it altogether. Don't change your medications or treatment without first talking to your primary care provider.
For more information, visit the American College of Cardiology guidelines for patients.
Also, visit the CDC COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date information.
Visit Sarver Heart Center's Prevention webpage for more general topics.