Fear plays a significant role in pandemics, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s discuss the reaction to COVID-19, which is now being referred to as an “infodemic,” and how we can better understand it.
What is an infodemic?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an infodemic as “an overabundance of information — some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” Because the internet is saturated with tips, news, blog posts, social posts, and a multitude of other resources, it can be difficult to comb through all of the messages and find the truth. That, on top of trying to identify best practices for keeping you and your family healthy, can feel draining and burdensome.
How can we address it?
The first thing to do is get the facts. Focus on reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for COVID-19 updates and try your best to screen out the rest of the clutter. This is, of course, easier said than done, and likely requires a great deal of mindfulness as you go about your daily life. Here are some steps you can take on a daily basis that might help you feel more grounded:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night: This is beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet: A healthy diet can improve your overall mood and sense of well-being.
- Move/exercise regularly: Physical activity may reduce stress and anxiety.
- Unplug from the news: Focusing on the present moment can help calm down your nervous system and mind.
The next steps
Remind yourself that you are not alone. Here are some of Amwell’s resources that can support you:
- Online therapy with a mental health provider
- Urgent care with a board-certified doctor
- Daily updates about COVID-19 on Amwell’s blog post
The bottom line: This too shall pass and we will get through it together! Also, remember that you have mental and physical healthcare support if you need it.