The panic around coronavirus (COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2) has caused stores to be wiped out of food and household products, leaving many people shocked, frustrated, scared and feeling even more anxious. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho helps us better understand panic buying and shares ideas on how to better ease your fears.
Been to the Store Multiple Times and Thinking of Going Again?
Dr. Judy says this urge is natural and understandable explaining when there is an unknown, like a pandemic, the uncertainty of what may happen next causes us to try and take control of the situation. "By hoarding things, people feel like they're gaining some control," she says.
But Is Stockpiling Food and Supplies Actually Helping?
Of course, everyone should ensure they have adequate food and necessities, but Dr. Judy feels excessive buying and stockpiling is actually unproductive. "It's unlikely to actually help us defend ourselves from the coronavirus," she continues.
Why Are People so Focused on Buying Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, and Water?
She says this is due to individuals feeling like their basic human needs are being threatened. Instead of an excess of toilet water, Dr. Judy suggests buying items that will help you relax and make working from home and self-sequestering easier. She also feels stockpiling items creates a "false sense of safety" and can lead to even more anxiety.
What's the Best Self-Care Action Someone Can Take during This Pandemic?
Once someone has already taken the preventive actions suggested by the CDC and the World Health Organization to protect themselves from coronavirus, Dr. Judy suggests, "The best thing we can do is to try and actually relax," urging everyone to use whatever coping strategy best works for them. She notes how effective and simple taking a deep breath can be (try 10 deep breathes when you are feeling stressed) in helping to calm your body and ease the fight or flight reaction which is common during these times and can impair someone's immune system. Dr. Judy also says it is important to remind yourself that only so much can be done.
Stay informed on the latest information on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and learn about prevention methods and what to do if you are infected.