[PARTNER CONTENT] No. You don’t have any control over the current pandemic afflicting the globe. But that doesn’t mean that COVID-19 should take over everything in our life.
Of course, you’ve heard of ways to keep healthy, sanitise your hands and prevent the virus from spreading so fast. Many communities are quite adept at managing the physical aspects of this crisis.
But have you considered how to go about managing the psychological aspect of COVID-19?
The COVID-19 panic
Scroll through your Facebook posts and you’re bound to come across a few pieces of information that instill fear: rising infection statistics, people suffering and a lack of supplies. In reply to this fear, many people have reacted impulsively:
- Stocking up on food
- Buying a lot of toilet paper
- Purchasing all the hand sanitiser they can get their hands on
Now, let’s be clear: we’re not telling you that you shouldn’t be cautious. But living responsibly and being prepared is far removed from living in fear. And the stress many people experience may not be necessary, because as long as we follow appropriate guidelines, we can flatten the curve of infections.
So, are all these actions warranted and necessary? Or is there a way to manage our emotional state and be more resilient to stress in this time?
Did you know social media affects your mood?
Where do you get your information on the Coronavirus pandemic? Or should we ask: how many times have you checked Facebook today?
Social media forms part of 3.8 billion people’s lives and many of them use the apps daily. What’s the problem? Many of use allow the platforms and information to affect how we feel:
- Scrolling through posts can rob you of valuable sleep, leaving you tired and less able to deal with stress and worry.
- You can stress about what others will comment on your posts. With so much controversial information going about you may fear getting criticised for your views.
- More bad news than good news may be shared, causing you to view the situation far more dire than it is.
- Some social media users get addicted to getting likes. If you don’t get the response you want, how will that make you feel?
- If you’re the person forced into quarantine and you see how others are still able to go about certain normal tasks, it may increase your feeling of isolation.
The unfortunate truth is that these types of scenarios cause a rise in depressive emotions in many social media users.
Can you see in how many ways your social media profiles can affect how you feel on a daily basis? And we haven’t even mentioned unreliable news.
The risk of fake news
Fake news has become a buzz word across the globe. In short, this is when someone shares information that’s untrue. The content may be shocking, thrilling or seem interesting, but that doesn’t mean it’s the truth.
The reasons people post fake news are vast:
- Increasing clicks and web traffic
- Low quality journalism
- Someone is trying to make a joke
At the moment fake news may include inaccurate Coronavirus statistics or untrue stories, simply to get social media users to react.
The risk? It can add to the negativity you’re already experiencing during this challenging time. But your fear is unfounded, since some of what you read isn’t true!
How to practice safe social media usage
So, you understand the risk you’re facing if you keep on using social media in the way many modern consumers are doing at the moment.
Do you want to change your habits and take back control of your stress levels, mental health and daily schedule, even while the world seems to be out of control? It’s possible:
- Limit your social media time. There are apps that will only allow a certain amount of browsing each day, to help you learn new habits.
- Check sources before you believe everything you read online. See if there’s an ulterior motive behind it that could mean it’s just clickbait; not important information you need to take heed of.
- See if someone isn’t simply playing a prank or making a joke.
- Don’t simply read headlines and make your own assumptions. Read enough of the content to understand the context of the statement. And see if another source also mentions it before accepting it as fact.
- Share information that will help others instead of trying to spark a conversation simply to get some attention.
This is a trying time for everyone. But you actually have more power over your wellbeing than you think. Keep yourself healthy and also keep your mind sharp.
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