Anxiety is a normal reaction to uncertainty and things that may harm us. For many of us, the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness make for a very uncertain future. People worry about their own health and the health of their loved ones, here and abroad. People may also have a lot of concerns around school or work, their finances, their ability to take part in important community and social events and hobbies, and other important parts of their lives. People who already experience a lot of anxiety may find their anxiety worsening.
It's important to be kind to yourself. This is an anxious and stressful time for everyone, and it's okay if you feel more anxious than usual, and it's okay to take time for yourself to manage your mental health. You are doing the best you can in a time when simply turning on the news can feel overwhelming.
While anxiety is a normal and expected reaction to the pandemic, too much anxiety can start to cause harm. Feeling stressed and fearful every day takes a toll on health and well-being very quickly. When anxiety and fear lead to panic, people may also take precautions that ultimately cause disruptions, like demanding a lot of tests or medical care when it isn't necessary or stockpiling certain supplies to the point that those supplies aren't available to people who are sick and need those items.
Anxiety can also cause the opposite reaction: denial or refusing to believe that the situation is serious. Denial is unhelpful. When people deny the severity of a situation in order to avoid anxiety, they may do nothing, even ignoring recommendations from health authorities.
A better place is somewhere in the middle. Coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness are serious and we should be concerned about the situation, but they are not catastrophic disasters. You can use that concern to take positive and protective actions—things like practicing good hygiene, staying home when you feel sick, and having a plan in case you need to self-isolate.