Coping with anxiety associated with social distancing and COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The constant change caused by the coronavirus is taking its toll on local families.

Dr. David Chesire, director of the Center for Healthy Minds at UF Health, weighed in on the best ways to handle anxiety associated with quarantine and the spread of COVID-19.

He described, “The last time I’ve seen this widespread anxiety, and not knowing how to be safe and what to do was 9/11.”

According to Chesire the fear of COVID-19 mixed with ‘cabin fever’ can cause many people serious anxiety. He recommended creating a schedule for your ‘new normal’, unplugging from smartphones and social media, and thinking outside the box for activities.

“It’s kind of looking around and seeing, ‘What can we do that maybe we haven’t done in awhile?’ Dust off the old board games and spending time with family reading books and watching shows,” he suggested.

Chesire said it’s especially important for families with kids.

He explained, “Kids are looking to adults for cues: how bad is this? How anxious should I be? So, being available to our children, making sure they know they can talk to us, that they’re going to safe."

He said planning ahead is another option that could reduce anxiety.