When a family becomes stressed, everyone feels anxious. The anxiety moves easily from person to person in the family.  Anxiety that affects one, affects all. It can be contagious.

Our country and our community are in the midst of a great deal of panic and anxiety with the pandemic of the Coronavirus. We are bombarded daily with the updates on this illness and how it is spreading. We are hearing about daily closures and cancellations such as the New York Marathon, museums, Broadway, St Patrick’s Day Parade, school closures, just to name a few. Are we making ourselves sick from the worry of this virus? I would say yes. Is it a real threat to us and our families? I would say yes. Certainly, the anxiety makes sense and is normal under these circumstances.

In order to manage our anxiety regarding the Coronavirus, we have to trust that our medical community and the communities in which we live are doing what they can to stop further spread. That being said, it is important for us to rely on the facts and make every effort to remain calm and non-reactive. We can take responsibility for ourselves and practice good hygiene, remain home if we are feeling sick, use regular hand washing, avoid large crowds or being around someone we know has been sick. This is all we can control. We cannot control much else.

Sign Up for Mountainside Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Accepting the fact that we have no control other than being mindful of how we protect ourselves, can relieve a lot of anxiety. We have a part to play in this and it is our job to take good care of ourselves.

For some with post-traumtatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or other forms of debilitating anxiety, Coronavirus is a growing mental health threat. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. It can cause physical and psychological symptoms. The fear of the Coronavirus has crippled so many. Worrying about the Coronovirus can lead to illness. Therefore, let’s take ownership for our own well-being and be extremely vigilant in our self care.  We need to take care of our immune system and treat ourselves with extra care and attention. We can teach this to our children and do it without fear. Anxiety spreads, and we do not want to spread this anxiety to our children.

If you find that you cannot manage the anxiety, seek professional treatment during this time as it can be most helpful.  You can think of it as a temporary solution while the pandemic is in full force.

When you can reduce your own anxiety, you will notice a significant difference within your family members. When you become less reactive, there are fewer symptoms and the family is freer to be the best it can be.

Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio, MA, Ed.S., MTF, LPC is a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. For further information call 908-322-0112 or visit www.hellenictherapy.com  

If you have a question for the Ask Maria column, please email maria@hellenictherapy.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.