Managing normal feeling of anxiety is important at a time of national concern over COVID-19

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 27, 2020 (SKNIS): With the news of two confirmed cases of individuals having COVID-19 in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Cherrilyn Warde Crawford, Clinical Psychologist within the Ministry of Health, stated that it is normal to feel anxious at the moment. However, persons should take steps to ensure that their anxieties do not cause a more serious issue.

“It is normal to have this level of anxiety. It is normal to feel some stress because we are dealing with something that is new and we are dealing with something that has severe consequences for us and our loved ones,” said Dr. Crawford.

“So it’s normal to have some feelings of anxiety and stress, but at the same time we want people to know if you continue to have these feelings it could spiral out of control,” she added. “So instead of having some symptoms of anxiety, you might develop a full blown anxiety disorder.

Dr. Crawford said that persons may develop depression if they do not take measures to ensure that they cope well.

“One of the ways to cope is to have some sort of structure in your life so even if you have isolation, we want you to create some sort of structure. If you have to stay at home, when you get up in the morning do not stay in your pajamas all day. Get out of the pajamas. If you are accustomed to bathe by 7:00a.m. or 8:00a.m., you try to keep that structure. You get up, you bathe, you have your breakfast and you make sure you plan activities to do throughout the day,” she said.

The activities may have to be limited and in accordance with social distancing, said Dr. Crawford.

“You may have to watch T.V from this time to that time. Factor in, calling your grandmother at this time. I’m going to facetime her if I can or just give her a call. Even if you have to have some sort of mundane conversation with your grandmother or with somebody, you do these kinds of things. You can schedule in some scrabble,” she said.

Dr. Crawford stated if persons have children, depending on their age, it is vital that they are involved in the activities. She added that parents or guardians must create structure for them.

“Structure is very important. We don’t want people to stay home and wonder what I’m going to do with myself. They may feel bored. Persons and adolescences who tend to be a little bit antsier want to move around and things like that,” she said.

“Put in a little exercise in the yard. We are not saying if you are under isolation or quarantine you should go to the park. You can exercise in your backyard. You can also play games with children,” said Dr. Crawford.

She noted that social distancing does not mean that persons cannot communicate with their neighbours or be emotionally distant.

“You can be on your verandah and me on my verandah and we have a conversation. That sense of having something to do is going to be very helpful,” said Dr. Crawford.

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