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Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety in Barcelona

Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety in Barcelona

As the number of cases of coronavirus rises across Catalonia, Spain, and globally, the level of anxiety within our community is naturally increasing. 

Given the declaration of a global pandemic and State of Alarm in Spain, some feelings of anxiety are normal. However, it is important that we take steps to manage our stress and anxiety to avoid it transforming in to panic and distress.

This post outlines some strategies which can help you cope with any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Limit Media Consumption. Choose Reliable Sources.

Heightened anxiety can be provoked by absorbing the continuous media coverage about the coronavirus. Reduce your intake of information about coronavirus and check only reliable sources of information such as the World Health Organization.

In Catalonia, you can stay up to date with developments from media sources such as Catalan News, or the Citizens Advice Bureau Spain.

Keep Things in Perspective

In stressful moments, it is natural to catastrophise things, or imagine them to be worse than they really are.

Instead of running away with worst-case scenarios, and worrying your self unnecessarily, ask yourself:

• Am I assuming bad things will happen when I really don’t know the outcome?

Remember that the government has taken steps to reduce the spread of the virus and you can focus on what you can control, such as staying home and following hygiene guidelines.

• Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be?

Illness due to coronavirus infection appears to be mild and most people reportedly recover without needing medical treatment.

Am I underestimating my ability to cope?

Sometimes thinking about how you would handle something, even if the worst case were to pass, can help you put things into perspective.

Be Proactive

Follow guidelines for the State of Alarm in Spain:

  • Stay at home
  • Work online, from home, where possible
  • Only leave the house to buy essential items, for medical assistance, walk your dog, or if you have to work outside the home
  • Maintain a distance of 1-2 metres from other people
  • Cancel non-urgent medical appointments

See more info about what you can and cannot do in the State of Alarm 

Follow basic hygiene principles given by the World Health Organization including to:

• wash your hands frequently, choose soap and water where possible, or hand sanitiser 

• avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• stay at home if you begin to feel unwell until you fully recover

• seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or experience breathing difficulties

• call 061 if you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath

Practise self-care

It is important to look after yourself to help maintain a positive state of mind.

Everybody has different ways to practice self-care, but this could include:

• maintaining connections with family and friends online or via Whatsapp whilst in lock down

• making time for activities and hobbies you enjoy like painting, reading, watching movies

• seeking activities online such as courses from EdX, UDemy, FutureLearn, Coursera, Class Central, OpenCulture, etc

• check out TedX talks; and podcasts

• maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, getting good sleep and avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs 

• seeking out free online exercise classes such as Yoga with Adrienne or FitnessBlender

• practising relaxation, meditation and mindfulness to help your body stay in a calm state

• using online meditation resources like Insight Timer (also an app); or  Tara Brach

Seek Additional Support 

If you feel that the stress or anxiety you or your child experience as a result of the coronavirus is causing you distress, one of the therapists at Therapy in Barcelona may be able to help.

Our caring professionals from around the world are highly trained and skilled in providing effective interventions for a range of concerns, including stress and feelings of anxiety.

We are currently offering online sessions while Spain is in a State of Alarm. Find out about online sessions here


More information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Our World in Data

Citizens Advice Bureau CAB Spain

Spanish Ministry of Health

Catalan News 

The Local Spain

EuroNews Spain 

El Pais in English

Spain in English

UPDATED Sunday 15 March 2020


Adapted from APS 

By Leigh Matthews - Australian Psychologist, Director Therapy in Barcelona

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